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Yes, now Kia is planning a fully autonomous car

South Koreans announce ‘Drive Wise’ sub brand to build a self-driving car by 2030

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Kia is planning to build a fully autonomous car by the year 2030.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the South Korean firm announced the technologies required for this autonomy would fall under a new sub brand dubbed ‘Drive Wise’.

The timetable is thus: partial autonomy by 2020, and full, self-driving capacity ten years after that.

What are we looking at, then? Well, at CES, Kia said Drive Wise incorporates highway and urban autonomous driving, ‘preceding vehicle following’ (lane-keeping that monitors the car ahead), emergency stop (it analyses your face and makes sure your eyes are on the road), and a traffic jam assist. Oh, and autonomous valet parking, just like BMW.

The next generation of Drive Wise technologies will include a fingerprint touchpad and gesture recognition (sound familiar?) used to operate the car’s controls, and pre-loading individual drivers’ preferences.

But key to all of this is the ‘vehicle-to-everything’ (V2X) comms system. It’s made up of sensors, radar, light detection and ranging, and cameras to arm the car with as much info as possible.

Kia has also been granted a licence to test autonomous vehicles in Nevada, and will invest $2 billion by 2018 to fast-track this development. The Soul EV will act as the test bed.

“Although the first marketable fully-autonomous car from Kia will not be available in the immediate future,” explains Kia’s senior VP Tae-Won Lim, “the work our R&D teams are currently doing is already improving on-road safety and driver assistance.”

Excited? Scared? Well, if you fall into the latter, you’ve got a good 14 years to construct your finest tin foil hat…

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