…And says it will release full autonomous vehicles onto the market in 2030. To kick-start its autonomous drive (pardon the pun) it’s launched its Drive Wise sub-brand.

KIA HAS ANNOUNCED it will release vehicles with partial-autonomous abilities by 2020, and full autonomous vehicles by 2030. So determined is it to be in the autonomous mix, it’s launched a sub-brand, Drive Wise, tasked with creating the necessary technologies for autonomous functionality.

At the Consumer Electronics Show this week, Kia revealed the technologies it’s aiming to have on the market in 2020 and 2030. These include:

  • Highway Autonomous Driving (HAD) which 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) which 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 a 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 (this is likely to be available from 2020);
  • 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 (this is likely to be a 2020 functionality);
  • 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 (this is likely to be a bridging technology between 2020 and 2030); and 
  • Autonomous Valet Parking allows drivers to exit the car and let the vehicle park itself remotely, activated using the smart key or a smartwatch (Mitsubishi has already spruiked this sort of technology, but the Kia suggestion could be more simple).

Beyond the above, there was one interesting statement in Kia’s announcement about autonomous vehicle technology, and that was that it says the technology will help “to eliminate potential dangers – and, for some, the tedium – of driving, while changing the ways in which owners interact with their vehicles”. I’m not sure about you, but this sounds awfully like Kia might be trying to protect other drivers on the road from those drivers who find driving tedious. Hmmm, if you find driving tedious then take a bus or a train, because you sound like you might just be a menace on the roads… editorialising over.


Tae-Won Lim, Senior Vice President, Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute of Hyundai Motor Group, said, “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.”


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