“The Kia of 10 or 5 years ago is gone, and in its place stands a recognized industry leader in design, technology, and value. In 2015, Kia recorded its most successful year ever, and sold over.” At the company’s first CES press conference in history, Kia announced its new DRIVE WISE autonomous technologies. Kia describes it as, “A new technology brand for partial and fully autonomous driving. It recognizes possible dangers around the vehicle and prevents accidents from happening through intuitive alerts and driving intervention. It also gives customized driving alerts, and supports fuel efficient driving.”
According to the company’s press materials, DRIVE WISE will encompass the following features, available to the public by 2020:
- Highway Autonomous Driving (HAD) 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 (UAD) 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 (PVF) is an enhanced lane-keeping system which 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 due to poor conditions or road layout.
- Emergency Stop System (ESS) operates in correlation with Kia’s Driver Status Monitoring (DSM) system, to analyse 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 (TJA) 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 smartwatch.
Kia also intends to produce a fully autonomous vehicle by 2030, and stated that its highly autonomous vehicles will also be fully electric. The company states that these new systems will enable motorists to “enjoy life to the fullest while avoiding accidents.”
Kia also announced that it has obtained a permit to test its vehicles on Nevada’s public roads, joining Daimler, which is already actively testing its partially autonomous Dreamliner trucks in Nevada. “The preliminary investment by Kia – totalling US$2 billion by 2018 – will enable the company to fast-track development of its new DRIVE WISE technologies. The U.S. state of Nevada recently granted Kia a special licence to test the new technologies on public roads. Kia’s all-electric Soul EV – the company’s first globally-sold electric car – is acting as the brand’s testbed for the development of next-generation DRIVE WISE technologies, as it takes to the roads around Death Valley.”