Kia will invest £1.3bn by 2018 in order to launch advanced driver assist technology by 2020, building to the introduction of its first fully autonomous vehicle by 2020. The projects will be jointly developed with parent company Hyundai.
The announcement is significant because it indicates the firms will not be ready to match the launch of autonomous cars by rivals by 2020. “Fully autonomous cars are still some way off, and a great deal of research and rigorous product testing will need to be carried out to make the self-driving car a reality,” said Tae-Won Lim, vice president of advanced research and engineering.
Autonomous technology Kia expects to have ready by 2020 includes systems to detect other vehicles and hazards and control systems that then automatically take avoiding action if danger is detected.
In addition, more conventional lane guidance and smart cruise control and traffic jam assist modules, which automatically keep the car a set distance from other vehicles, will be on sale by 2020. Kia also says it will launch new self-parking technology, which will allow owners to exit a car and then order it to park itself at the push of a button.