Kia progresses down autonomous road

Kia Motors has been given the green light to test its autonomous driving technologies on public roads for the first time.

The US state of Nevada has given Kia a licence to test its new technologies in real-world conditions, which is regarded as a vital step on the road to full autonomous driving.

Alongside sister company Hyundai, Kia plans bring its first fully-autonomous car to market by 2030. A range of partially-autonomous driving technologies are expected to be introduced to its eco-friendly models by 2020.

Dr Tae-Won Lim, vice president, central advanced research and engineering institute of Hyundai Motor Group, said, ‘Thanks to this licence we will be able to accelerate the testing of our new autonomous driving technologies that are currently in the early stages of development, with particular emphasis on our alternative powertrain vehicles.

‘We are confident that our latest innovations will ultimately make driving safer for all road users.’

Kia and Hyundai will invest up to $2 billion by 2018 to develop new Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) technologies and employ a greater number of engineers. ADAS technologies, which can be overridden by direct driver control, will join the suite of features already offered by Kia on its latest production vehicles, including the Sorento and the soon-to-be-launched all-new Optima and Sportage.

These technologies are aimed at identifying hazards at the earliest possible opportunity and allowing the driver – or the car – to take the appropriate reaction.