Kia Motors is to begin testing its autonomous driving technologies on public roads for the first time, following in the footsteps of firms like Google and Volvo. The carmaker has been granted permission for testing its vehicles by the US state of Nevada.
Kia says that, together with sister company Hyundai, it will be testing both partially- and fully-autonomous driving technologies. The license to test on public roads in Nevada will give the firm an opportunity to put the cars through their paces in real-world conditions, something the firm says is an important part of its roadmap for autonomous driving.
As part of that roadmap, an initial US$2 billion investment by 2018 will focus, in part, on the development of new Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) technologies. These will include sensors to detect other vehicles, hazards, environments and driving conditions, computing systems to make decisions based on ADAS sensor information and mechanical systems to carry out the decisions made.
Among the planned vehicle features these technologies will contribute to are Highway Driving Assist (which will automatically maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front, keep the car in its lane and help with safely overtaking other vehicles) and Traffic Jam Assist (which will track the vehicle in front during "moderate to highly congested traffic conditions").
Kia is also planning to enhance its existing Smart Parking Assist System so that a car will park itself in parallel or perpendicular spaces with minimum driver input. Further down the line, a Remote Advanced Parking Assist System will see Kia vehicles parking themselves when the driver presses a button on their car key.
Kia says it will introduce a partially-autonomous driving tech to its cars by 2020 and has set a date of 2030 as target by when to bring a fully autonomous car to market.