Eyes-on with Hyundai's in-car tech for 2014: CloudCar, MirrorLink and a 9.2-inch display

Many who live in North America wouldn't put Hyundai at the forefront of in-car technology, but the Korean au hoping to change that reputation by 2014 with a more internet- and mobile-savvy platform. We had an opportunity to peek at some of those components at the automaker's CES booth. CloudCar calls out for attention as the most distinctive: going beyond the existing BlueLink system, it pairs the car's infotainment unit with at least a Jelly Bean-equipped Android phone to put an always-online interface in front of the driver. The early CloudCar example runs on a very simple interface with options like Google Maps navigation, media playback and Google contacts on the left. It's built for multitasking and will keep directions going even as we're firing up NPR or sharing to Facebook (hopefully, while stopped). While it's not exceptionally deep, it appears suited to the need-it-quick nature of real driving, with shortcuts like directions to the office or a call to a favorite contact.

Other additions aren't quite as conspicuous, but could still be very welcome when we see it in future cabins. Hyundai is one of the first car builders that we know of to embrace MirrorLink, echoing whatever's on a phone's display (in this case, Android) through MHL; there's a companion Android app with a car-sized interface for navigation, hands-free calls and music. Hardware should get an upgrade as well through a premium system with a 9.2-inch, 720p display. The company isn't quite ready to narrow down which vehicles will see what upgrades, although we're told the early strategy may split CloudCar and MirrorLink between different model lines. If you're willing to accept that the technology could change in a year's time, you can get a peek at the future in the gallery below.