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Hyundai, NHN step up IT efforts

Hyundai Motor Group announced Sunday that its two carmakers signed a memorandum of understanding with NHN Corp. to collaborate in the field of automotive information technology and telematics.

NHN is the operator of the country’s top search engine Naver.

Combining telecommunications and informatics, telematics for automobiles refers to the application of wireless telecommunications tools including global positioning system and Internet access from motor vehicles.

The agreement with NHN comes less than two months after the automaker revealed plans to collaborate with the London-based telecommunications giant Vodafone to develop new telematics services for its customers in Europe.

In its partnership with Vodafone, the carmaker plans to provide its customers with access to IT services using Vodafone’s communications network that covers Europe.

Under the latest agreement, the group’s two carmakers ― Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. ― will work with NHN in developing telematics services that enable motorists to access content provided through Naver from their vehicles, Hyundai Motor Group said.

The carmaker said that the services that will be developed will employ a telematics module with voice-controlled system in order to ensure safe driving conditions.

The two carmakers will develop an applications store for the telematics module, while NHN will develop applications exclusive to such devices, the company said.

“We expect the collaboration with NHN to allow us to provide our customers with new and pioneering telematics services,” the company said in a statement.

“Hyundai and Kia will continue to improve competitiveness in automotive IT through collaborations with local and foreign companies.”

Telematics and related collaborations, however, are only the latest in Hyundai Motor Group’s drive to build vehicles with advanced IT features.

In 2008, the two Hyundai Motor Group carmakers formed a partnership with Microsoft Corp. to develop onboard infotainment systems. The project gave rise to the voice-operated UVO system installed in Kia Motors Corp.’s vehicles sold in the U.S. Hyundai Motor is also currently developing a tablet computer that will be installed in vehicles as part of its onboard IT systems.

The carmaker plans to complete developing the device by 2013 and begin rolling out vehicles equipped with the onboard tablet computer in the same year.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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