Design & Technology

From Point A to B: connecting the dots between The Driver and The Vehicle January 8th, 2014

Current motoring trends are all about connectivity—connecting drivers to vehicles, vehicles to the surroundings and vehicles to other vehicles. As the world moves beyond the smartphone to the smart car, we look forward to a car that is able to not only understand a driver’s needs, but also his or her wants. Kia’s aim is to ultimately “strengthen the relationship between driver and car,” and Kia is continuously “pushing the boundaries of connectivity and convenience while maintaining safety as a top priority,” says Henry Bzeih, chief technology strategist at Kia Motors America.

Every day, drivers behind the wheel find that so many things around them are fighting for their attention—text messaging, checking social media, radio channel surfing. And while many distractions are actually quite avoidable, we are unable to quench our thirst for staying connected and engaged.

Intuition by Safety
But Kia looks to quench that thirst in the safest manner. Keeping the driver’s eyes on the road and hands on the wheel is central to Kia’s approach to in-vehicle technology, as evidenced by the technologies included in Kia’s User-Centered Driver (UCD) concept, designed for more intuitive interface between drivers and their cars. By enhancing the functionality of the widescreen 18-inch Head-Up Display (HUD), this UCD technology offers drivers an augmented-reality snapshot of vital information such as speed, navigation and traffic information. In addition, the 12.3-inch TFT-LCD cluster gives the driver a 3D view of vital vehicle information, utilizing eye-tracking technology so the driver gets a clear view from various angles. A hand-gesture controller allows drivers to access radio and navigation tools with simple hand or finger motions without taking their eyes off the road, and without a need to compromise safety.

Kia sets the standard for creating a safe driving experience by connecting vehicles to outside surroundings, as its UCD system features visual and auditory alerts of drive-route hazards and real-time warnings for any potential dangers such as frontal collisions or lane departures, as well as current intersection conditions.

Another key technology facet within the UCD system, called Your Voice (UVO), pushes the boundaries of connectivity and convenience and is meant to serve as the real connection between the driver and the vehicle. At the heart of UVO innovation is the Voice Recognition (VR) technology, which allows you to verbally ask your Kia for directions or to change the song. UVO also includes the SoundHound recognition app, and even integrates Yelp!, making the driving experience much more enjoyable.

Look Ma, No Hands!
It’s been a while since the introduction of Bluetooth technology and plenty of “hands-free” devices, but Kia looks to only keep your hands on the wheel—nothing else.

A wireless mobile device charging system, powered by magnetic induction, lets drivers set their phone at their side to charge, without any connecting wires. Other key innovative Kia technologies were developed guided by the In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) concept, which aims to provide drivers with the best in-vehicle services with infotainment technology.

Your Kia can construe music playlists by either detecting your mood or your current driving conditions, such as cruising along a summery coast, through the IVI’s “Smart Radio” technology. And you no longer have to fight about what you listen to with your passengers, as HD wireless (WiHD) technology allows every passenger to enjoy their own music and video content from the two independently functioning rear-seat entertainment units, while drivers can simultaneously access vital navigation information.

<Kia fans experiencing IVI, the future of motor infotainment #CES2014>

A 20-inch multi-touch center console display shows content, synchronized from your own smartphone, such as social networking sites, and also provides easy access to concierge or parking assist services.

Kia’s engineering teams are constantly on the look-out for new ways to build and mold every driver’s connectivity with their vehicles. You might be surprised by what we’ve got in store.

Find out more about how we fused these technologies into our cars at the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 this week, and check out the video below to see what Kia Innovation is all about.

Be on the lookout for our next story when we detail how some of these technologies are implemented.