KIA to market fully autonomous cars by 2020

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A Kia engineer sits behind the wheel of the autonomous vehicle.

A Kia engineer sits behind the wheel of the autonomous vehicle.

Kia Motors last week introduced a new sub-brand, Drive Wise, to encompass its future Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Drive Wise embodies Kia’s philosophy to realize intelligently safe vehicles featuring Kia’s latest and forthcoming ADAS technologies. Kia recently announced plans to manufacturer partially-autonomous cars by 2020, and aims to bring its first fully-autonomous vehicle to market by 2030.

Debuting at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Kia’s innovative Drive Wise technologies are currently under development. Engineered to improve safety for all road users, Drive Wise will enable Kia to introduce intelligent safety technologies to its future model range, helping to eliminate potential dangers – and, for many, the boredom – of driving, while changing the ways in which owners interact with their vehicles.

“Kia is undergoing a very promising and gradual process of introducing partially and fully autonomous technologies to its vehicles. Although the first marketable fully-autonomous car from Kia will not be available in the immediate future, the work our R&D [research and development]teams are currently doing to develop our range of Drive Wise technologies is already improving on-road safety and driver assistance. The innovations presented at this year’s show demonstrate the future direction we are taking,” said Tae-Won Lim, senior vice president, Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute of Hyundai-Kia Motor Group.

Drive Wise technologies to improve on-road safety
By 2020, Kia aims to introduce its first partially-autonomous car with Drive Wise technologies, building upon the current generation of driver-assistance systems.


The more advanced technologies under development by Kia provide the driver with greater levels of assistance, anticipating and reacting to changing road conditions and potential hazards to improve safety for all road users. By helping to eliminate many of the inherent dangers, stresses and hassles of driving on today’s congested roads, Drive Wise will enable owners to focus more on the pleasures of driving.

Kia’s future Drive Wise technologies displayed at CES 2016 include Highway Autonomous Driving, Urban Autonomous Driving, Preceding Vehicle Following, Emergency Stop System, Traffic Jam Assist and a new Autonomous Parking and Out function.

Highway Autonomous Driving employs a combination of radar and camera detection systems to interpret lane markings, allowing the car to stay in its lane or switch into others to overtake other vehicles or follow a different road, all without driver input.

Urban Autonomous Driving applies GPS and sensors to identify the car’s position on the road, allowing it to safely navigate through densely-congested city environments while responding to live traffic updates.

Preceding Vehicle Following is an enhanced lane-keeping system that monitors the vehicle in front and allows the car to calculate its own path relative to it, following at a safe distance if road markings are indecipherable because of poor conditions or road layout.

Emergency Stop System (ESS) operates in correlation with Kia’s Driver Status Monitoring (DSM) system, to analyze the driver’s face, ensuring their attention does not stray from the road for too long. If it detects that the driver takes their eyes from the road for too long, ESS can automatically direct the car into an appropriate side lane and come to a halt.

Traffic Jam Assist monitors the vehicle in front during congested traffic conditions, maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front and moving into appropriate spaces to gain ground.

Autonomous Valet Parking allows drivers to exit the car and let the vehicle park itself remotely, activated using the smart key or a smart watch;

Drive Wise technologies are primarily designed to make driving safer and easier for Kia customers by identifying hazards at the earliest possible opportunity and allowing the driver – or the car – to take appropriate action, though drivers can circumvent them with direct control, enabling closer control of the car as desired.

Drive Wise technologies will also facilitate communication and interaction between the driver and vehicle with innovative new Human Machine Interface (HMI) functions, such as gesture control, fingerprint sensors and smart-device connectivity.

Featured in a special I-Cockpit display at CES, Kia’s next-generation HMI is based on the concept of “blind control,” with a fingerprint touchpad and gesture recognition used to operate the car’s controls. Automatically recognizing individual drivers’ preferences on start-up – based on their fingerprint or smart watch – the car can immediately change the cabin ambience for the driver with their favurite music, preferred climate control temperature and the type of information displayed by the instrument panel.

Drivers’ gestures are recognized by the I-Cockpit if they want to change any setting in the cabin, without taking their eyes off the road ahead.

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