Kia has continued to innovate in every aspect of their brand, especially technology. The brand's vehicles consistently include some of the most high-tech offerings on the market, and it seems like we're discussing some new technology every model year. Kia's engineers are set on evolving their vehicles, and they're willing to take several risks.
This will be clear in the coming years, as Kia has looked outside of the box for some of their upcoming technological advances. Before you head out to a Kia dealer in Miami learn how the company continues to innovate their vehicle's technology...
Early last year, Kia announced their new sub-brand, "DRIVE WISE.' The new group was going to specifically focus on improving the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems technology, which plays an important role in autonomous (self-) driving. The brand has previously announced a desire to have "partially-autonomous cars" on the road by 2020, and they were hoping for full integration a decade later.
What is autonomous driving technology? As Graham Scott of the Evening Standard explains, the system will assist the driver in piloting the vehicle. It can manipulate the brakes in emergency situations, and it will also adjust your vehicle's speed to keep up with traffic. Furthermore, the vehicle is engineered to recognize its owner. By waving a hand or scanning your fingerprint, the technology will allow the vehicle to subsequently set-up the car to the owner's preferences, including infotainment technology.
The technology made its debut at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. Engineers pushed the system's ability to improve driver and passenger safety, with the company highlighting several of their more innovative features (via a press release : "Urban Autonomous Driving, Preceding Vehicle Following, Emergency Stop System, Traffic Jam Assist and a new Autonomous Parking and Out function."
“Kia is undergoing a very promising and gradual process of introducing partially and fully autonomous technologies to its vehicles," said Tae-Won Lim, the Senior Vice President of Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute of Hyundai Motor Group. "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. The innovations presented at this year’s show demonstrate the future direction we are taking.”
Kia will have invested $2 billion into the project by the time 2018 rolls around, allowing the company to expedite the process and begin testing soon. Nevada recently granted the brand a special license, allowing Kia to test their autonomous vehicles on actual roads. The company is going to be using the electric Soul EV as their test vehicle for the technologies.
It may only be the Sedona's second model year, but the minivan is starting to make waves in the industry. Not only has the vehicle won a number of awards (including being named the 'Ultimate Minivan' by Cars.com and Motorweek), but it's received glowing praise for its technological features and amenities.
In starts with the SuperVision Meter Cluster, which would catch the driver's eye immediately upon entering the vehicle. With a 3.5-inch Organic Light Emitting Diode Color Display, the screen allows the driver to easily see their meters, regardless of the time of day or amount of light. Of course, there's also the UVO eServices infotainment system, allowing the driver to access a backup camera and Premium Navigation. Plus, with the Kia App store, you can easily integrate your smartphone with your minivan, allowing you to access a number of fun applications.
Of course, Kia also added a number of innovative safety features, making their durable minivan even safer. Besides the various airbags, tethers for child seats, and antilock braking, the Sedona also offers (via Emma Jayne Williams of MySanAntonio.com a brake assist mode, "cornering brake control, traction control, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, rollover mitigation system, side-impact door beams, and front and rear crumple zones."
Considering all of the included technology, you'd probably question why you'd need anything else. Kia's engineers are continually looking to test the boundaries, so they certainly didn't stop with the standard Sedona. Customers can opt for the Technology Package, which adds a number of amenities to your minivan. The add-ons include several safety features, like a lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, and adaptive cruise control. Other features included xenon headlights (with automatic high-beam control), a surround-view camera system, and chrome side-sill trim.
These technological advances even carry over to the upholstery, as the YES Essentials fabric includes anti-microbial protection, providing protection in case of spills. The fabrics also contain "anti-static protection," meaning you can avoid this pesky shocks.
Earlier this month, the brand unveiled their 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle. The car is included in the brand's EcoDynamics program, which strives to produce vehicles that are friendly and compatible with the environment. While previous vehicles (including the Optima Hybrid and the Soul EV) includes technology that helped clean up emissions, the Niro is actually the first vehicle to be included in the brand's specific eco-car platform.
“The Niro hits the sweet spot by offering the best combination of outstanding mpg, an engaging driving experience, utility, and most importantly, a stunning design that doesn’t shout ‘hybrid,’” said Orth Hedrick, the vice president product planning for KMA (via a press release . “The subcompact CUV market continues to be one of the fastest-growing segments in the world, and the Niro offers a uniquely alluring yet practical package that consumers haven’t seen before.”
Kia certainly has some lofty expectations, but we don't believe the brand is being overly-optimistic. Sure, autonomous driving and an entirely eco-friendly vehicle are certainly ambitious plans, but as we've seen in the brand's vehicles (including the Sedona), practically anything is possible if the engineers are dedicated enough. We'll surely see more innovations (besides the upcoming technologies mentioned above) in the coming years. Based on what we know so far, we’re excited to see where the brand goes next!