Kia's UVO Texts When Teens Go Astray

Don't want your kid driving to a certain part of town — say that sketchy neighborhood out west or the house of a friend that you're not so keen on? In the near-future, your Kia could send you a text message if they go there.

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It works through the automaker's new UVO with eServices, which expands on Kia's voice-activated UVO ("Your Voice") system with a smartphone application that enables parental controls, among other things. Besides the usual services — 9-1-1 assist and send-to-car Google Maps navigation in nav-equipped cars — UVO offers what Kia Forte product strategy manager Dan Tiet called "geo-fencing," or the ability to draw zones on a map and receive alerts when your car goes there.

Kia announced UVO with eServices at this week's Los Angeles Auto Show. It debuts on the 2014 Sorento and Forte, and Kia officials at the automaker's press conference confirmed it would roll out to most other Kia models in the next year. There's no subscription fee for the service, which works through an iPhone app. "It's a piggyback system," Tiet said. "It tethers to your smartphone."

Kia expects to expand the app to Android smartphones next spring. Other eServices features include a parked-car locator and, similar to Ford's Sync and GM's OnStar, vehicle diagnostics. Parents also can set a speed limiter when their teens get behind the wheel, Tiet said. That's similar to Ford's MyKey system, which gives parents the ability to set limits on vehicle speed, stereo volume and more.


I think a lot of parents are going to like this feature. I know when I was younger my parents would of loved to get updates of were I was.


I'm so happy to be an adult already. Teens have it bad these days. In my opinion, if you're so untrusting of your teens that you need to call in Big Brother, you shouldn't give them the privilege of driving.


I have been down this road more times than I can tell you. The reason that it will not work is that teens (either your own or their friends) are technologically smarter than parents. They will hack into the system and defeat it in a twinkling of an eye. That applies even to parents like me, an electrical engineer. I could never keep up, no matter how hard I tried or how many hours I spent on the project. The good news is that the problematic period generally only lasts a few years.

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