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Visitors scope Hyundai Motor’s booth during CES 2013 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Tuesday. Among other products, the automaker is showcasing its Blue Square concept car (codenamed HND-6) and Veloster Turbo. Both offer a new level of connectivity to mobile electronic devices and the latest in automotive IT. Provided by the company


LAS VEGAS- It may not be long before drivers of a Hyundai can boss their car around using their Galaxy smartphone by using its S Voice feature, according to a source at Hyundai Motor on Tuesday.

The new partnership between Korea’s top tech company and auto maker comes one day after Hyundai announced at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Fair here that it would integrate Apple’s voice-recognizing Siri function so that drivers of its vehicles can issue commands with a compatible iPhone running iOS 6.

“Samsung yesterday suggested that we collaborate on an intelligent voice-recognition system,” said the Hyundai source, without elaborating. Hyundai’s PR office refused to confirm such an offer had been made.
“To minimize the risk of distraction, Siri takes hands-free functionality even further with an ‘eyes-free’ mode which enables drivers to interact with their iPhone using nothing more than their voice, while keeping the device’s screen from lighting up,” said Hyundai in a release. It has been exhibiting at the annual tech show since 2009.

Apple revealed its plans to integrate Siri with motor vehicles using Bluetooth connectivity last June at WWDC, its annual conference for developers. Since then it has teamed up with 10 automakers including General Motors, Audi, Toyota, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Chrysler. Hyundai was the 11th to join.

Apple promised there would be a Siri-enabled car on the market within 20 months. General Motors’ Chevrolet is set to become the first brand to use Siri, on its 2013 Sonic and Spark.

But a Hyundai spokesman was unable to put a date on when it would follow suit.

Hyundai, Korea’s No. 1 and the world’s fifth-largest automaker, also unveiled a next-generation smart concept car tentatively named “Blue Square” and code-named HND-6. This uses the car makers self-developed Blue Link technologies, which it is displaying at its 370-square-meter booth along with over a dozen examples of its technological innovations.

Blue Square’s integration with smartphones makes it possible for the driver to send and receive e-mails and text messages while on the move using a voice-recognition system. The car can also warn the driver if he is running late by giving an estimated time of arrival, and forward this information to the phone of the person or people waiting for him or her.

Such technologies, which effectively begin transforming car cabins into mobile offices, operate under Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system. Telematics refers to any integrated use of computers and wireless technologies. Hyundai initially unveiled the brand at CES 2011.

The automotive industry’s partnerships with consumer electronics makers appears to be growing more significant, as demonstrated by the fact that other major global carmakers and auto-tech firms have beefed up their presence at CES with cutting-edge automotive technologies and interfaces.

Audi announced on Tuesday that its driver assistance systems will become smarter and more capable by devolving more of the responsibilities from driver to car, facilitating a kind of autopilot mode of driving. If desired, these can take over the task of driving for a limited time. Audi also said in a press conference that it is the first company since Google, the most high-profile player in the testing of “driverless vehicles,” to get a license in Nevada to conduct tests of driverless cars there.

Toyota’s Lexus, another high-end brand, showed off its modified LS model that can also operate without a driver on Monday, making it the first Japanese automaker to unveil an experimental self-driving vehicle. The “Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle” on display at the Lexus booth is controlled by cameras, sensors and other technologies the carmaker has developed to operate the gas pedal, brakes and steering wheel.
U.S. carmaker Chrysler also announced that apps for some of the most popular Internet radio services will be added to its Uconnect software in the near future.

By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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