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Kia Announces 'Fast-Track' Initiative For Driverless Cars By 2030

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In a day packed with news from car manufacturers Toyota and Ford, Kia's CES press conference topped off a red-letter day for the automotive industry (a CNET anchor joked that CES had "become a car show") — and while CES newcomer Kia, unlike Ford, didn't issue any drone-related software challenges, it did introduce its first foray into the world of automated driving with its sub-brand Drive WISE and safety security system ADAS, which will purportedly be fully implemented by 2030.

Invoking a synchronicity with traditional telematics, smart mobility (with companies like Apple and Google), and smart safety, the latter named the "focus" of the manufacturer's conference, ADAS (which stands for Advanced Driving Assistance System) will feature a bevy of driver-less features, including automated valet-less parking assistance, back-up collision warning, smart parking assist with special spatial recognition, and an around-view monitor, meant to prevent hitting objects not viewable to the naked eye (even with the help from a mirror).

Nonparking, in-motion ADAS benefits will also include lane-keeping assistance, smart cruise control, blind spot detection, and autonomous emergency braking.

With an emphasis on a three-pronged approach — safety, convenience, and efficiency — Kia also recognizes the "bothersome" nature of fully-automated driving, which is where Drive WISE comes in. Its "hassle-free" program lets Kia consumers have the choice between both partial and fully autonomous driving options.

Drive WISE perks includes "blind control," or fingerprint recognition, which automatically remembers the driver's system preferences; automated valet parking by adding gear shifting and speed control and incorporating wireless communication — all done with the help of a nifty voice-activated wearable; highway driving assistance, which would make tailing a thing of the past; and traffic jam driving assistance to ward drivers away from stand-still scenarios.

Kia intends to put its initiatives on a "fast-track" by investing $2 billion in the project by 2020, all by currently testing both Drive WISE and ADAS in its Soul EVs. The company also announced its intention to secure autonomous driving licenses worldwide for research purposes — one such license was granted in Nevada, the state where CES is currently being held. The company also shared its goal to "[expand] its collaboration with new companies, particularly in the IT industry and academia."

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