Kia Motors announced its safety and self-driving road map it calls ‘DRIVE WISE.’ It plans to manufacturer partially-autonomous cars by 2020, and its first fully-autonomous vehicle to market by 2030. It will also introduce a new infotainment interface with gesture controls, fingerprint sensors and smartphone connectivity in 2018.
The first partially-autonomous car with DRIVE WISE will use current ADAS features with a whole new bunch of acronyms.
- Highway Autonomous Driving (HAD) a combination of radar and camera detection systems interpret lane markings, allowing the car to stay in its lane or switch into others to overtake other vehicles or follow a different road.
- 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.
DRIVE WISE technologies are 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 connect 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 favourite 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.
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.
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 the true ‘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.