Burnishing its upscale image, Hyundai announced a new telematics service for its cars called Blue Link. The service offers emergency assistance along with a number of convenience features, including vehicle location sharing to select family and friends, and through Facebook.
Although Hyundai's announcement does not provide complete operational details, Blue Link appears to have an associated smartphone app, an in-car hardware component, a call center, and integration with the car's navigation system.
Similar to OnStar, Blue Link detects airbag deployment and sends the car's location to a call center. An operator then attempts to contact the car's driver, and can alert emergency responders. A driver can also contact the call center by pressing a dedicated SOS button in the car. Another button summons roadside assistance.
Other services similar to OnStar include the capability to slow down a stolen vehicle, or immobilize the engine so it cannot be started.
Blue Link offers services for parental control, such as the capability to set up a "geo-fence." If the vehicle leaves a proscribed area, the owner will receive a text message. The owner can also set speed alerts.
A smartphone app lets owners remotely unlock or lock the doors, flash the lights, and start the car. Blue Link can also read incoming text messages out loud, and let the driver send replies. The system can also be set to share the car's location on an owner's Facebook page.
Hyundai outlines a number of travel services, such as traffic conditions, turn-by-turn navigation, restaurant ratings, and gas prices. For gas prices, Hyundai says the results of a search are read out by an automated voice system, and a particular gas station address can be sent to the navigation system.
Blue Link sounds as if it offers server-based services similar to that available with Ford's Sync Services. This paradigm would mean that drivers can go through voice command menus at a call center to find out useful information.
Blue Link launches this year in the Sonata, followed by the all-new Velostar, and will roll out through the entire line-up by 2014.