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Kia launches driverless tech sub-brand

Date: 01 March 2016   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Kia has launched a sub-brand for its autonomous technology division.

Known as Drive Wise, the sub-brand aims to introduce intelligent safety devices into future Kia models.

By 2020, the firm is aiming to produce a semi-autonomous vehicle with technology from the Drive Wise banner, which builds on the current generation of driver assistance systems.

Kia's future Drive Wise technologies include Highway Autonomous Driving, Urban Autonomous Driving, Preceding Vehicle Following, Emergency Stop System, Traffic Jam Assist and a new autonomous valet parking function:

  • 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 vehicles.
  • 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 a lane-keeping system which monitors the vehicle in front and allows the car to calculate its own path following at a safe distance.
  • 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 onto the side of the road 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.

Kia also announced it is investing $2bn (£1.4m) by 2018 to develop its systems, while the American state of Nevada has granted the Korean car maker a licence to test the technology on public roads.

Meanwhile, the firm estimates that fully autonomous cars will be on the market within 15 years time.