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Kia and Hyundai to integrate Google Maps into upcoming vehicles

The popularity of Google Maps could help Kia and Hyundai sell some new vehicles this year. The car manufacturers have announced that they will work with the search giant to integrate its mapping app into upcoming vehicles.

Google's mapping service will be available on the 2014 Kia Sorento CUV, as well as cars that sport the Hyundai Blue Link telematics platform.

For Kia, its in-car infotainment UVO ("Your Voice") system, powered by Google, will work for Kia owners inside their car or out. With the Send to Car feature, users can send a destination to their car directly from Google Maps, via the companion smartphone UVO app. In the car, drivers can tap into Google Maps and Google Places to get directions of find points of interest.

The maps will be displayed on the Sorento's 8in dashboard screen.

"The newest iteration of the UVO platform is a breakthrough as one of the industry's first mobile pure app-based telematics systems, and now with the Google solutions and APIs, we take the platform to yet another level of enhancement for the Kia customer," Henry Bzeih, head of Kia's connected car program and chief technology strategist, said in a statement.

Google Maps integration joins other UVO eServices features, including Car Care Web, which allows users to check vehicle diagnostics, status, maintenance schedules, and driving behaviour on a home computer or mobile device.

"Due to the popularity and ease-of-use of Google Maps," Bzeih said, "owners can remain confident in the technology and information being delivered to them."

Kia expects to add the system to other models in its line-up, including the new 2014 Forte sedan.

For Hyundai, integrating the Google Maps API into its vehicles will add Send to Car, Point of Interest Search, and Local Search by Voice to the cars.

"Google is a leader and innovator in search, content and technology, offering incredible tools," said Barry Ratzlaff, director of Customer Connect at Hyundai Motor America. "Blue Link makes it easy for our owners to find and navigate to their destinations. The integration of Google Maps APIs makes Blue Link even more effective. We look forward to continuing work with Google to bring innovative solutions to Hyundai owners."

"You should have access to comprehensive, accurate and useful information no matter where you are – including when you're behind the wheel," Mickey Kataria, a senior product manager for Google Maps for Business, wrote in a blog post.

Kataria said Audi, Daimler, and Tesla Motor Co. are also incorporating Google Maps into their vehicles.

In November, Apple and General Motors announced that the Chevy Spark and Sonic LTZ and RS models will come with Siri's Eyes Free mode as part of the cars' overall system, beginning this year. The feature aims to avoid distractions while driving by not illuminating the screen when responding to the user and preventing Siri from displaying a web page when answering questions.