Hyundai and Microsoft to Develop Next Generation of In-Car Infotainment

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SEOUL, South Korea — Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group and Microsoft recently entered into a long-term agreement to co-develop the next generation of in-car information and entertainment systems. Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft and Eui-Sun Chung, president of HKAG were present as Martin Thall, general manager of Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit, and Hyun Soon Lee, president and chief technology officer of HKAG, signed the agreement in Seoul.

Together, Microsoft and HKAG will deliver new and innovative solutions based on the Microsoft Auto software platform, bringing the future of in-car technology to Hyundai drivers worldwide.

“These new systems will redefine consumer experiences in the car,” Thall said. “Since the spring of 2006, HKAG and Microsoft have been sharing their vision for the future of in-car technology. We’re now aligned to develop the next generation of in-car infotainment systems.”

“HKAG’s strategic vision is to become a global leader in automotive and information technology convergence” Chung said, “the partnership with Microsoft will form the foundation for achieving that vision.”

The first product, a next-generation infotainment system that provides voice-controlled connectivity between mobile devices, will be introduced to the North American market in 2010. It will also be introduced to Asian and European markets, and expand into multimedia and navigation devices. These easy-to-use infotainment systems will allow consumers to enjoy music in various digital formats.

The next-generation infotainment systems are comparable to mini-PCs. Even after product launch, new functions can be added or upgraded in the form of software program updates, an innovation that is new to existing in-car multimedia technology.

The Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group’s adoption of the Microsoft Auto software platform increases Microsoft’s presence in the Asian car market and enhances the global automotive business. The engineering and marketing teams of Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit in Redmond, Washington, will be working directly with counterparts at HKAG in Seoul to support this goal.

In a related announcement, Microsoft and Hyundai-Kia, along with the Institute for Information Technology Advancement (IITA), signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to co-establish an automotive IT innovation center with the goal of promoting innovation and opportunities for Korean software and device vendors in the global market. Hyundai-Kia will invest $166 million over the next five years to bring IT technology advancements into the car and to develop new in-car services.