Kia Going Autonomous
Usually when a company in the auto industry talks about spending $1-billion, that’s fairly big news.
And a company that said it is going to be spending a total of $2-billion by 2018 ought to make twice the news.
But somehow, the fact that Kia announced that it is spending that amount of money to fast-track its autonomous vehicle development seems to have gone unremarked.
Of course, they made the announcement at CES, so perhaps being buried under other announcement can be somewhat understood.
Kia is calling its autonomous initiative “DRIVE WISE.”
Included in the portfolio that it is developing are highway autonomous driving, which uses a camera and radar for maintaining a lane, and even the ability to pass other vehicles without driver input (one of the concerns even with adaptive cruise control is that a pokey car in front will keep the one behind way behind); urban autonomous driving, which uses GPS and sensors to locate the car on the road and live traffic updates to allow the vehicle to traverse dense city traffic; and autonomous valet parking, which has the driver sending a vehicle on its way using a smart key or smartwatch.
Of the undertaking, Tae-Won Lim, senior vice president, Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute of Hyundai Motor Group, of which Kia is a part, said, “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.”
But here’s a notable thing.
Kia plans to have its first partially automated DRIVE WISE car available in 2020.
And more remarkable, fully autonomous cars on the market within 15 years.
Hard to overlook that.
While you are probably familiar with origami, the classic art of paper folding that results in things like birds that flap their wings when you pull the tail, or plot devices in one of the Blade Runner films.
This is not a piece of modern art: Rather, it is an image from Blackmore Sensors and Analytics of Bozeman, Montana, micro-Doppler signatures of pedestrians (or maybe that’s a pedestrian, singular) walking (see it now?). Blackmore is a company that is developing FMCW lidar.
A young(ish) guy that I’ve known for a number of years, a man who spent the better part of his career writing for auto buff books and who is a car racer on the side, mentioned to me that his wife has a used Lexus ES Hybrid.