Hyundai will soon be joining the likes of Ford and Fiat by offering a new music and information interface developed jointly with software giant Microsoft. To enable that collaboration, the two companies have announced the founding of a dedicated Automotive IT Innovation Centre (AIIC) with the aid of Korea’s Institute for IT Advancement.

Located within Hyundai-Kia's research facilities in Seoul, the AIIC's goal will be to develop new technology such as auto telecommunication, telematics, navigation systems and Location Based Service (LBS), and improving Human Machine Interface (HMI) - the latter being one of the first projects undertaken, incorporating voice commands with a mobile media system.

The new system will debut initially in Hyundai models in North America around 2010 and will eventually filter across to global markets with Europe and Asia to follow soon after. "Microsoft and Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group share a similar vision for the role that information technology will play in connecting people to information, communications, and entertainment while they are in their cars," said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft.

The first product under the partnership will be a voice-activated control system for linking mobile devices such as a cell phone or MP3 player with a vehicle’s stereo. Eventually the new interface will include multimedia and navigation-related features. There could even be an emergency call function similar to current features from rival telematic systems such as GM’s OnStar.

Under the deal, Hyundai will be able to use the system in its own branded vehicles as well as Kia models as early as November, however the first systems won’t arrive until the end of the decade as engineers are working on developing more advanced systems. There's no word on which models will be offered with the feature but it will likely be reserved for more upmarket models such as the upcoming Genesis Coupe.

Microsoft is also free to license the software to other carmakers, which means we’re likely to read about similar announcements from rival brands in the coming year.