The Consumer Electronics Show was once a show that showed off various technologies for the home, new computer systems, new mobile devices and the like, but this year, CES seems more like an auto show than an electronics show. As our society gears up and aims for autonomous cars, the major auto manufacturers are engaged in what seems like the biggest competition since the space race. Once such manufacturer that is putting its all into technology development is Kia Motors, with is new sub-brand DRIVE WISE.

At CES this year, Kia has put on display its current autonomous technologies and what it is going to be developing over the next 10 to 15 years, as we slowly move over driverless cars. These new technologies will provide a higher level of driver assistance and improve safety by “eliminating the inherent dangers, stresses, and hassles of driving.” Current DRIVE WISE technologies on display at CES include Highway Autonomous Driving, Urban Autonomous Driving, Preceding Vehicle Following, Emergency Stop System, Traffic Jam Assist, and Autonomous Parking & Out functionality. These technologies will be able to identify potential hazards and react to them as soon as possible if the driver fails to.

That isn’t all that DRIVE WISE has to offer, however. It also includes a new way to for humans to connect with their cars by using things like gesture control (Like we see in the BMW 7 Series,) fingerprint sensors, and advanced connectivity between the car and other smart devices. Kia is calling it I-Cockpit. By using fingerprints, future cars will be able to identify who is in the driver seat, and automatically adjust everything in the cabin to their liking – think of this as the seat, pedal, and steering wheel memory functions available in current cars, just way more advanced.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

Kia Launches New "DRIVE WISE" Sub-Brand
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Some of the technologies that Kia is developing under the DRIVE WISE moniker will sound fairly familiar. For instance, Highway Autonomous Driving functions similar to Tesla’s autopilot feature, just without as much driver input. It uses a combo of radar sensors and cameras to read the road ahead, including lane markings and cars. The car will be able to maintain its position – at a safe distance from other vehicles – in a given lane. Unlike Tesla’s current autopilot system, however, it will be able to switch automatically into other lanes as needed automatically or follow a different road without human input. The Urban Autonomous Driving technology functions in a similar way, but uses GPS and life traffic updates to navigate through city streets and traffic safely.

One of the biggest concerns with autonomous driving is how well the car will be able to maintain safe function when road markings or street signs are in less-than-favorable condition, or unreadable altogether. DRIVE WISE appears to have an answer for that too, with the Preceding Vehicle Following Technology. Simply put, the car will be able to read the cars around it and go with the flow of traffic – preventing the possibility of accident or the need for the driver to take over.

Kia Launches New "DRIVE WISE" Sub-Brand
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Next up is the Emergency Stop System and Driver Status Monitoring, and this is where things get a little freaky. During routine driving, the car will monitor the driver. If the car determines the driver is distracted, or that his eyes stray from the road too long, the car will take over and safely pull the vehicle to the side of the road. So with that, I have a little note for all of you that still text and drive: The laws may not stop you from texting and driving, but eventually your car will.

Finally, the last major technologies on display are the Traffic Jam Assist and Autonomous Parking functions. TJA will monitor vehicles ahead and maintain a safe distance by automatically braking and accelerating. At the same time, it will scan for openings and automatically change lanes and positions to work slowly through the traffic jam. Eventually, this technology might put an end to traffic jams all together once we go fully autonomous. Autonomous parking is self-explanatory. By the simple press of a button or call from your mobile device, your car will park automatically, or pick you up from the mall doors. It seems like just another way for humans to be lazy, but it’s still a cool technology and will be hugely beneficial to those who are disabled and unable to walk even short distances.

Kia is planning to bring fully autonomous cars – the ones that require nothing more than a few voice commands to get from one place to another – to the market by 2030, and it has a clear plan to do so. By 2018, it will invest a total of $2 billion just to the development and advancement of these new DRIVE WISE technologies. DRIVE WISE still has a way to go, but as KIA continues to develop its vehicle-to-everything communications system (V2X), DRIVE WISE will come under deeper development as the two systems work hand-in-hand. V2X will be able to communicate with other cars, and driving infrastructures, allowing the car to identify driving scenarios and react as a human would – real artificial intelligence if you will.

Kia Soul EV Autonomous Vehicle Driving

Kia Launches New "DRIVE WISE" Sub-Brand
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KIA is already well on its way to developing these systems, as Nevada has given the manufacturer permission to test these technologies on public roads as they are developed. What better car to do that with than Kia’s very own Soul EV – the first global electric vehicle sold by the Korean manufacturer. The Soul EV will act as the company’s ambassador of autonomous technology – the car that you’ll see driving all by itself around Death Valley, testing KIA’s latest DRIVE WISE technologies. For now, the car will probably have a human pilot at the helm, at least watching what the car is doing, but don’t be surprised if you see the Soul EV piloting driving all by itself sometime in the next few years.

Press Release

Kia Motors has today introduced the launch of a new sub-brand, ‘DRIVE WISE’, to encompass its future Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). DRIVE WISE embodies Kia’s philosophy to realize intelligently safe vehicles featuring Kia’s latest and forthcoming ADAS technologies. Kia recently announced plans to manufacturer partially-autonomous cars by 2020, and aims to bring its first fully-autonomous vehicle to market by 2030.

Kia Launches New "DRIVE WISE" Sub-Brand
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Debuting at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, January 6-9, Kia’s innovative DRIVE WISE technologies are currently under development. Engineered to improve safety for all road users, DRIVE WISE will enable Kia to introduce intelligent safety technologies to its future model range, helping to eliminate potential dangers – and, for many, the boredom – of driving, while changing the ways in which owners interact with their vehicles.

Kia unveils DRIVE WISE technologies at CES 2016
Kia’s CES 2016 illustrates the progression of its autonomous driving technologies, from those available in current models to cutting-edge features being developed over the next 15 years under the DRIVE WISE banner. Kia’s exhibit at the increasingly popular show gives visitors the chance to experience a host of next-generation technologies and concepts with interactive displays.

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

DRIVE WISE technologies to improve on-road safety
By 2020, Kia aims to introduce its first partially-autonomous car with DRIVE WISE technologies, building upon the current generation of driver-assistance systems.

The more advanced technologies under development by Kia provide the driver with greater levels of assistance, anticipating and reacting to changing road conditions and potential hazards to improve safety for all road users. By helping to eliminate many of the inherent dangers, stresses and hassles of driving on today’s congested roads, DRIVE WISE will enable owners to focus more on the pleasures of driving.

Kia Launches New "DRIVE WISE" Sub-Brand
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Kia’s future DRIVE WISE technologies on display at CES 2016 include Highway Autonomous Driving, Urban Autonomous Driving, Preceding Vehicle Following, Emergency Stop System, Traffic Jam Assist and a new Autonomous Parking & Out 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 other vehicles or follow a different road; all without driver input.
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 primarily 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.

Kia Launches New "DRIVE WISE" Sub-Brand
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Next-generation vehicle interaction
DRIVE WISE technologies will also facilitate 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.

License granted to test Kia DRIVE WISE on Nevada public roads
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.

Kia Launches New "DRIVE WISE" Sub-Brand
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Fully-autonomous cars on the market within 15 years
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.

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