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Kia Aims to Offer Connected Cars in All Segments; Promises 16 New Electrified Vehicles by 2025

Kia Aims to Offer Connected Cars in All Segments; Promises 16 New Electrified Vehicles by 2025

It’s all systems go for Kia’s plans for the next decade

Kia has officially revealed its entire connectivity strategy at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. The strategy, called “ACE,” aims to put a strong focus on autonomous vehicle technology, connectivity, and eco/electric platforms, hence the acronym “ACE.” These pursuits will coincide with the company’s other plan of introducing an entire model range of connected cars by the year 2030, and at least 16 electric cars by the year 2025.

A big part of that multi-level strategy rests on how Kia is able to accelerate its development in the areas it mentioned. In terms of autonomous vehicle, the plan is to roll out self-driving cars that feature level 4 autonomy by 2021. This goal goes hand-in-hand with plans to induce “Smart City” autonomous vehicle testing, which Kia also hopes to roll out by 2021.

In terms of connected services, the company’s goal is to have its entire model range adopt the technology by 2030. There’s a longer 12-year timetable to achieve that vision, and it successful, we’re going to see each Kia model become a highly connected car by the time 2030 rolls around. When that time comes, Kia also hopes to have all of its cars carrying eco/electric powertrains. That includes hybrids, EVs, and even fuel-cell EVs.

Kia’s plan to push for these technologies comes at a time when just about every automaker is doing the same thing. Dr. Woong-chul Yang, Vice Chairman and Head of the Kia R&D Center, says it’s become imperative for Kia to go all-in with the development of these technologies. "Virtual reality, self-driving cars, and ‘vehicle-to-everything’ connectivity were all once considered technologies of the distant future," he said. "As they rapidly become a reality, Kia is exploring how to deploy these new technologies for its customers. Our strategy and vision for future mobility (are) demonstrated by a range of interactive displays, showing what our customers can look forward to."

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Hit the Slopes in Style With the Ski Gondola

Hit the Slopes in Style With the Ski Gondola

Kia ushers in the future with the Ski Gondola, a self-driving, terrain-decimating Kia Sorento custom built for SEMA

SEMA is that one auto show where manufacturers put serious time and effort into building the coolest custom cars you can imagine. We’ve already learned about a lot of custom cars, but Kia has been pretty secretive about what they’re bringing to the show – at least until now, that is. Meet the Ski Gondola, a heavily customized Kia Sorento. Focusing on a theme of autonomy, Kia pulled out all the stops, fitting this custom Sorento with equipment like you’ve never seen. Dubbed the Ski Gondola, it’s most notable feature are those wild tank tracks that give it the ability to navigate just about any terrain with ease. Pair that with those ridiculously bright LEDs, the custom roof rack, and those side-view cameras, and this Sorento is ready to play anytime, day or night, with eagerness and enthusiasm. But, that’s not all that makes this one-of-a-kind Sorento special.

The moment you try to open the doors, you realize there’s a lot more than what meets the eye. The doors open in suicide fashion, and entry is super easy thanks to the removal of that B-pillar. Beyond that, this concept is all about function and comfort. Since Kia’s theme this year was autonomy, the Ski Gondola mixes all-terrain prowess with the luxury of autonomous technology. As such, the front seats have been turned around for easy interaction with rear passengers and the entire vehicle can be controlled by that custom center console and tablet. The seats themselves have been upholstered in black and orange leather, all of which is held together by orange stitching for the perfect amount of contrast. Finally, since this amazing concept is built to spend time on the slopes, the entire floor has been equipped with weatherized rubber coating.

As you can see from the video, Kia wasn’t playing around this year and is showcasing what the future of autonomous vehicles could look like. This specific model is focused on off-road or all-terrain duty, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s a Sorento that can literally go anywhere, and it will take you there all by itself – now that’s style and class rolled into one impressive package. Stay tuned for a full picture gallery and in-depth review of one of the coolest concepts at SEMA 2016.

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Autonomy meets luxury in the First Class Kia Soul.

Autonomy meets luxury in the First Class Kia Soul.

The Kia Soul is special in the essence that it has an unmistakable design in a world where models tend to blend together these days. At the 2016 SEMA show, Kia has taken the Soul’s unmistakable design and stepped it up a notch, effectively creating an autonomous vehicle design that will make you happy to give up the steering wheel. On the outside, Kia blessed this beautiful concept with a Lux Electric Blue finish that is enhanced by the electric blue accent lighting that glows so brightly from behind the front grille. The most notable modifications, however, take place inside where the front seats are installed in a reversed position.

This custom Soul only offers seating for two in executive style with automatic leg rests located just ahead of the seats in the floor. The lack of rear seats isn’t a bad thing, though, as their sacrifice makes way for a massive display screen that is mounted to the rear wall. The custom tablets near the front seats allow for complete control of the entire vehicle including selecting a destination, engaging travel, and controlling the television or browsing the internet on the way. Perhaps more important is the quality of materials that make up the ambiance of the cabin. Most of the inside is wrapped in a beautiful suede material, including most of the interior panels and the headliner. The seats are wrapped in leather, and the custom door trim panels have a custom leather insert that is stitched into a diamond layout. The floor has been lined in one of the finest wood selections available and fits right in with the accent lighting below and around the TV and from the door panels.

With all of the various concepts that show up to SEMA every year, it’s hard to stand out in the crowd. But, this autonomous Kia Soul is definitely a showstopper if we’ve ever seen one. On top of that, it goes to show just how luxurious and functional the fully autonomous Kia’s of the future can be. Giving up the steering wheel is a hard thing to face for most, myself included, but a design like this will certainly make giving up the steering wheel so much easier. MY only question is: When can I get a ride in this amazing feat of engineering?

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Kia Launches New "DRIVE WISE" Sub-Brand

Kia Launches New "DRIVE WISE" Sub-Brand

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.

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