Self-driving cars are the new bandwagon, and Kia Motors just bought a ticket.
The automaker unveiled plans on Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to develop autonomous vehicles. But it may be a while before you see them.
Kia aims to have fully self-driving cars on the road by 2030 (yes, 14 years from now). However, the company hopes to have its first semi-autonomous cars with driver assistance on the road by 2020. These “partially” autonomous cars will have features like self-parking and automatic lane switching on the freeway.
Kia is apparently behind rival automakers like Mercedes Benz, Audi, Ford, and Tesla in building self-driving cars. It’s also trailing Google, which has been working on similar technology since 2012.
To catch up in the driverless car race, Kia plans to invest $2 billion by 2018, the company said. It has also been granted a license by the sate of Nevada to test its autonomous driving technology on the state’s roads, and the electric Kia Soul EV will serve as guinea pig.
Along with autonomous driving tech, Kia is also adding new dashboard interface features, such as gesture control, fingerprint sensors, and smart-device connectivity. Its “blind control” feature automatically sets drivers’ preferences after it scans their finger prints. Drivers can also then control car settings using gestures. Gesture control has become an increasingly popular feature, with automakers like BMW and Volkswagen building their own.