Design & Technology
Kia’s ‘KITT’? June 10th, 2009
By Jung, Woo-Chul
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.