2016 Kia Optima: Using UVO Speed Alerts and Geofencing To Find Out How Your Teenagers Are Driving
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on June 17, 2016
About a week ago, I wrote an update about the extra features contained within our 2016 Kia Optima's UVO eServices infotainment system. At the time, I couldn't quite figure out how to get the My Car Zone feature working. This is the part of UVO that allows you to create custom alerts for time, speed and location ("geofencing") if your Optima is being borrowed by your young driver. Or your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, I suppose, if you don't trust him/her.
Well, I've since figured out how to get it to work through the car's UVO setup menu. Now it's just a matter of testing it out. I do have kids, but they're far from reaching driving age. Next best thing: me.
I set up alerts for a radius from my house and speed. I picked 60 mph, since that seemed like an easy speed to exceed.
You can further customize these alerts for how frequently they get triggered (say, one alert a minute for the period of time that the vehicle is exceeding your preset speed). These must be set up while the vehicle is parked. A four-digit PIN that you select protects these settings from being changed or disabled.
Short version: it worked. Once I sailed past the geofence distance, a notification popped on the touchscreen. And when I hit the gas on the highway a couple times to pass some slow-moving trucks, the Optima gave me a speed warning, too.
These alerts are stored in the system. So if you let your teenaged driver have your Optima for the night, you can see if he or she exceeded any of your parameters.
I also thought that I would get notifications on the UVO app on my phone automatically. That way, you could be sitting at home and get a push notification that your son Jack is on his way to Vegas at 100 mph. But that doesn't seem to be the case. The only way I could get them to appear in the app was after I had connected my phone to the vehicle itself and transferred data to it. This is less than ideal if the Optima is actually Jack's car and you want to keep an eye on him, rather than Jack borrowing your Optima.
Overall, though, I'd say it's a nice extra feature to have. And, as a commenter pointed out in my previous update, all UVO services are free for the first 10 years or 100,000 miles.
When your teen driver is done driving, though, you'll have to remember to turn off the alerts. I mention this as I forgot to do this for my coworkers. I had set our Optima's UVO speed limit warning to 40 mph for further testing but then forgot to disable it. Well, later that day, I got a call from co-worker Kelly Hellwig. She was driving the Optima home from the Edmunds office and had just seen an unexpected speed warning. The amusing aspect (for this story, not for Kelly) is that she had been driving for an hour and 45 minutes already through the oh-so-common Los Angeles traffic morass. It had taken her that long to finally top 40 mph.
"It's not a warning," Kelly said. "The Optima is mocking me that this has been my best speed so far."
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 6,657 miles