Design & Technology

Kia’s ‘KITT’? June 10th, 2009

Jung, Woo-Chul By Jung, Woo-Chul
Research engineer
Multimedia evaluation team

Some people may remember a popular American TV series from the 80s called “Knight Rider.” The star of the drama was KITT, a car that could converse intelligently with its human driver (David Hasselhoff). At the time, KITT seemed like a character out of science fiction. Just 20 years later, however, many of KITT’s abilities are commercially available. In fact, Kia Motors succeeded in developing Korea’s first voice recognition navigation system in 2008. Although today’s voice recognition systems cannot recognize everything a person says, Kia has created an infotainment system that allows users to enjoy hands-free manipulation of its navigation and audio features.


Recent study results reveal that voice recognition is the most effective HMI (Human Machine Interface) to minimize the risks involved with operating navigation systems when driving.


The study compared drivers’ concentration levels as they manipulated their navigation systems while driving by measuring how much they wandered out of their lanes. Voice recognition systems led to significantly safer driving. Understandably, taking one’s eyes off the road to control the system while driving can lead to serious consequences.


※ Editor’s Note: POI (Points of Interest)

Until now, this advanced voice recognition technology had to be imported from other countries. That’s why industry experts welcomed the news that Kia succeeded in localizing the technology with a domestic firm.

Industry demand for voice recognition HMI is growing steadily and Kia is among the leaders in its development. A new fleet of products is in the works through strategic technical alliances with IBM, Nuance and other global leaders in voice recognition engines.

Voice recognition HMI is becoming the latest trend in on-board systems and the technology is expected to bring drivers even closer to their vehicles.

With Kia’s voice recognition navigation system, you only have to say “home” for the system to guide you back home from your current location. Although it is still in its infant stages, researchers are hard at work to come up with amazing new features. Expect to see them in the near future in Kia vehicles.

  • Alexey Drozdov, Russia

    Do you plan to use some projection to windglass or to other place? Not to much information, just for indicate recognized command. In any case it will take drivers attention from the road.

    Do you plan to localize it to other country?
    I know that here is no good enough speech recognition for russian. =)

  • Colin

    Hi Alexey,

    We don’t have any plan to equip HUD(Head Up Display) equipment for Kia cars.
    It will be great though.
    We, however, have a plan to provide our cars with voice recognition system from Feb. 2010 in Europe.
    I hope you would have a chance to ride Kia with a new navigation system :)

  • Alexey Drozdov, Russia

    I hope it too. :)

    Will you provide navigation for Russia?
    Without voice recognition. Just intrested navigation in KIA, for don’t buy additional system.

  • Colin

    Yes, the navigation system will be provided as an optional choice in Russia.
    Also voice recognition function will be included in the system.

  • Stacey

    Who (what suppliers) did Kia work with for its voice recognition system?

  • Ian May

    How long before a factory fitted navigation system will be included in Australian vehicles?

    The new Sportage Platinum is very well equipped, but leaves a few desirable options off the list.
    Sat nativation
    Fully adjustable front passenger seat
    Bluetooth connectivity, etc.

    Top effort . . . might be buying one before you include the above features. :-)

  • Gaberaon

     dears in Kia-buzz,I will be
    glad if u pls can help me to solve my problem,i bought used kia forte
    2009 imported from korea ,and bad luck is every thing in korean,audio system,gps every thing,how to solve this problem,

    thank u alll