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Kia Motors introduces new DRIVE WISE sub-brand for advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving technologies

At CES 2016, Kia Motors launched a new sub-brand—DRIVE WISE—to encompass its future Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Kia recently announced plans to manufacture partially-autonomous cars by 2020, and aims to bring its first fully-autonomous vehicle to market by 2030. (Earlier post.)

A preliminary $2-billion investment by Kia by 2018 is intended to fast-track development of the new DRIVE WISE technologies. The state of Nevada recently granted Kia a special licence to test the new technologies on public roads. Kia’s battery-electric Soul EV is acting as the brand’s testbed for the development of next-generation DRIVE WISE technologies.

Key to Kia’s future DRIVE WISE technologies is the development of its vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications system. For Kia to advance its partially-autonomous ADAS technologies far enough to bring a fully self-driving car to market by 2030, V2X must be fully integrated into real-life driving environments and be able to react as a human driver can.

V2X applies a series of sensors, radar, LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) and external cameras, to perceive the surrounding environment and all relevant obstacles, as a human driver does. The system incorporates vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technologies as well, allowing the car to recognize, judge and control every driving scenario, obstacle or potential threat.

Kia’s future DRIVE WISE technologies on display at CES 2016 include Highway Autonomous Driving; Urban Autonomous Driving; Preceding Vehicle Following; Emergency Stop System; Traffic Jam Assist; and a new Autonomous Parking & Out function.

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 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.

—Tae-Won Lim, Senior Vice President, Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute of Hyundai Motor Group
  • 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 analyze the driver’s face, ensuring his or her 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.

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 smartwatch—the car can immediately change the cabin ambience for the driver with their favorite 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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The nearly 2 billion cars and trucks that manages total global road transportation today can be replaced by about 500 million autonomous cars and trucks driving at least 4 times as much per vehicle.

In other words, if you are late with autonomous technology you will bankrupt as there will quickly be no market left for making new cars and trucks that are not fully autonomous. The global auto industry is going to shrink in a big way no matter how you do the math.

Even existing and functioning cars and trucks will be scrapped because they cost too much to operate versus autonomous vehicles that uses cheap electricity and has no driver costs and no upfront cost by its users.

Tesla is already partially autonomous and will have fully autonomous vehicles by 2020. If Kia's ambition is to do the same by respectively 2020 and 2030 they will go bankrupt along with Toyota and Honda that are equally lame in their ambitions for this area. They need to get seriously into this game now. If they first realizes this by 2020 because Tesla has succeeded in creating a fully autonomous car for say 99.9% of all public roads it will be too late. Their sales will deteriorate so fast after 2020 that bankruptcy will be unavoidable.

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