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Kia reveals autonomous car ambitions

By raccars Published

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Kia is planning to introduce some new systems to various vehicle ranges to give them self-driving capabilities.

Kia has revealed a 15 year plan to gradually introduce autonomous driving systems to its cars. By 2030 it intends to be ready to launch its first vehicle which is fully capable of operating without a human behind the wheel. And customers are already beginning to feel the benefits of its long term ambitions, since various Kia models with self-driving tech are on the horizon, according to AutoExpress.

In fact, a full line-up of Kia cars with automatic driving abilities will be on sale by 2020, encompassing models including the Sportage and Sorento SUVs as well as the Optima saloon. And all of this will be achieved by making use of solutions that are already available, altering them to remove some of the driver’s responsibilities when they are behind the wheel.

Self-driving Soul will lead the way

Kia has recently been showing off a version of the Soul supermini which embodies some degree of autonomous technology which comes under the umbrella of Kia's Advanced Driver Assistance System. This pulls together several solutions to create a car which is relatively affordable and yet still seems to be at the cutting edge of the market in its ability to take charge of actions such as lane positioning and speed on the motorway.

In addition to lane assist, smart parking capabilities and adaptive cruise control, the special Soul comes with the ability to deal with congestion without requiring the driver to actively handle the stop-start flow of traffic themselves. And this paints an intriguing picture as to what Kia has up its sleeves for the coming decade and a half.

Obstacles to overcome

Kia spokesperson Tae-Won Lim said that while autonomous driving technology is evolving rapidly, the reality is that we are still many years away from true self-driving vehicles being available to buy and use on roads in the UK. Much of this is due to the cost and complexity of the research and development required to reach the stage where full autonomy is achievable. In addition, manufacturers such as Kia are required to meet safety standards and to rigorously test these cars to make sure that they are fit for purpose according to various international standards. And in many ways this is the true indication as to the degree to which autonomous cars are still in their infancy, as regulators and legislators have yet to catch up with the progress that the manufacturers are making.

As a result Kia’s 2030 goal for the introduction of a wholly autonomous car can probably be regarded as realistic. And the work not only factors in the sensors and systems on-board the car itself, but how it is going to be connected to a wider infrastructure, sharing information with other vehicles and communicating in a way that will make autonomous cars safer and more efficient.

Experts believe that one of the keys to achieving higher levels of safety with self-driving cars is not just through the use of sensors which will see them react to changing circumstances on the road, but also in solutions that will allow them to predict what is ahead before they have even got there. This is where cars being tied into the Internet of Things (IoT) comes into play. This constant connection with the global digital backbone will provide self-driving vehicles with the data and resources they need to improve their predictive capabilities and give passengers a smoother, safer ride to their destinations in years to come.

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