Kia bases fu­ture mo­bil­ity on ACE, de­vel­ops new tech­nolo­gies

Auto components India - - COVER STORY - ACI

Kia Mo­tors, un­der its new ‘Bound­less for all’ vi­sion, will bring a fu­ture in which op­por­tu­ni­ties for mo­bil­ity and trans­porta­tion are lim­it­less. The com­pany has also de­vel­oped a range of new tech­nolo­gies as part of its new ‘ACE’ strat­egy to make its cars more Au­tonomous, Con­nected and Eco/Elec­tric. They were show­cased at the 2018 Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show (CES) in Las Ve­gas.

‘Bound­less for all’ is Kia’s fu­ture vi­sion – where ev­ery­one has the op­por­tu­nity to en­joy the in­fi­nite value that fu­ture mo­bil­ity will bring. This is Kia’s man­i­festo for its role as a mass mo­bil­ity provider in the fu­ture. Con­sumers are bound to­day by the idea that a car is ‘just a ve­hi­cle’, but Kia is com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing a broader so­lu­tion to mo­bil­ity. ‘Bound­less for all’ rep­re­sents a fu­ture in which a ve­hi­cle can be much more than the sum of its parts,” Woong-chul Yang, Vice Chair­man and Head of Kia R&D Cen­ter, said.

Kia’s ‘ACE’ strat­egy is based on three core el­e­ments, pre­sent­ing Kia’s vi­sion for fu­ture per­sonal trans­porta­tion. They are: Au­tonomous – Kia plans to com­mer­cial­ize Level 4 au­tonomous driv­ing tech­nol­ogy, with ‘Smart City’ au­tonomous ve­hi­cle test­ing sched­uled to com­mence from 2021; Con­nected – By 2025, Kia will adopt con­nected car tech­nolo­gies across ev­ery ve­hi­cle seg­ment, and aim to make ev­ery sin­gle model a con­nected car by 2030; and Eco/Elec­tric – Kia will in­tro­duce 16 new ad­vanced pow­er­train ve­hi­cles by 2025, in­clud­ing a range of new hy­brids, plug-in hy­brids and elec­tric ve­hi­cles, as well as an all-new fuel-cell elec­tric ve­hi­cle in 2020.

Be­yond au­tonomous driv­ing

At CES 2018, Kia pre­sented a range of

in­ter­ac­tive ex­hibits com­bin­ing the present and fu­ture tech­nolo­gies. They demon­strated how ve­hi­cles could be op­ti­mised for enhanced con­nec­tiv­ity as they be­come more au­tonomous.

The com­pany plans to op­er­ate a large-scale test fleet for au­tonomous tech­nol­ogy on pub­lic roads from 2019, paving the way for com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion of the tech­nol­ogy. Kia aims to com­mer­cial­ize Level 4 au­tonomous ve­hi­cles in smart cities from 2021 with a new Smart City pi­lot project.

“Kia’s con­nected cars will be both bound­less and con­nected and of­fer a new kind of mo­bil­ity ex­pe­ri­ence. Vir­tual re­al­ity, self-driv­ing cars, and ‘ve­hi­cle-to-every­thing’ con­nec­tiv­ity were all once con­sid­ered tech­nolo­gies of the dis­tant fu­ture. As they rapidly be­come a re­al­ity, Kia is ex­plor­ing how to de­ploy th­ese new tech­nolo­gies for its cus­tomers,” Yang said.

Elec­tri­fied ve­hi­cles

Kia will con­tinue to ex­pand its range of en­vi­ron­ment-friendly cars in the com­ing years, and plans to of­fer 16 elec­tri­fied ve­hi­cles by 2025, in­clud­ing a fuel-cell elec­tric ve­hi­cle (FCEV) in 2020.

“By 2025, we will of­fer a to­tal of 16 ad­vanced pow­er­train ve­hi­cles, with five new hy­brids and plug-in hy­brids, five new bat­tery EVs, and an all-new mass mar­ket FCEV. Due for launch in 2020, this FCEV will spear­head Kia’s ef­forts to re­al­ize a zero-emis­sion fu­ture for mo­bil­ity,” he said.

As part of this strat­egy, Kia ex­hib­ited its Niro EV Con­cept at CES 2018. Com­bin­ing the stylish de­sign of a mod­ern com­pact SUV with the high ef­fi­ciency of an ad­vanced bat­tery-elec­tric pow­er­train, the Kia Niro EV Con­cept rep­re­sents the next step in the brand’s on­go­ing jour­ney to elec­tri­fi­ca­tion.

Cre­ated by Kia’s de­sign stu­dio in Korea, the Niro EV Con­cept is a fully-elec­tric com­pact SUV. Its aero­dy­nam­i­cally-ef­fi­cient body al­lows air to slip over, around and be­neath the ve­hi­cle with ease. The tra­di­tional grille – no longer re­quired for en­gine cool­ing – is re­placed by a smooth in­ter­ac­tive dis­play panel, com­bined with ul­tra-slim lamp tech­nol­ogy in the over­all front. In pro­file, the con­cept draws in­spi­ra­tion from the cur­rent Kia Niro, with a mod­ish com­pact cross­over sil­hou­ette, el­e­vated body and wide C-pil­lar. The Niro EV Con­cept’s seam­less rear as­pect has clean and sharp trail­ing edges al­low­ing air to flow more eas­ily off the back of the car.

With a silent elec­tric pow­er­train, and the an­tic­i­pa­tion that such a car would be driven most fre­quently on ur­ban and subur­ban roads, the Niro EV Con­cept boasts of new tech­nolo­gies to en­hance safety for pedes­tri­ans.

The con­cept’s new Ac­tive Pedes­trian Warn­ing Sys­tem (APWS) fea­tures a com­bi­na­tion of front view cam­eras, ob­ject recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy and front speak­ers. If the sys­tem de­tects a pedes­trian or cy­clist cross­ing in front of the car, the speak­ers sound an alert tar­geted specif­i­cally at that per­son, warn­ing them of the car’s pres­ence. APWS is matched by the Niro EV Con­cept’s new in­ter­ac­tive light­ing sys­tem, which of­fers users and pedes­tri­ans a highly-in­tu­itive vis­ual com­mu­ni­ca­tion with ve­hi­cle. In­side, the cabin has been de­signed with a pure, min­i­mal­ist and dig­i­tal ap­pear­ance, cre­at­ing greater user in­ter­ac­tion with new tech­nolo­gies and fea­tures. With a wrap-around de­sign to co­coon the driver and pas­sen­gers, the dash­board’s hor­i­zon­tal lay­out has broad and smooth sur­faces. The ef­fect is an in­nate sense of space and calm in the cabin, enhanced by the soft shades of sil­ver, grey and bronze cov­er­ing ev­ery sur­face.

The Niro EV Con­cept is pow­ered by a next-gen­er­a­tion elec­tric ve­hi­cle pow­er­train, us­ing new pro­duc­tion tech­nolo­gies ear­marked for near-fu­ture EVs from Kia. En­ergy is pro­vided by a high-ca­pac­ity 64 kWh lithi­umpoly­mer bat­tery pack, paired with a pow­er­ful 150 kW elec­tric mo­tor. The Niro EV Con­cept sug­gests a driv­ing range of 238 miles (383 kilo­me­ters), with zero tailpipe emis­sions.

New in-car tech­nol­ogy

Kia pre­sented also its lat­est HMI tech­nolo­gies, au­tonomous drive fea­tures and the world’s first in-car 5G con­nec­tion at CES 2018. Th­ese ex­hibits hinted at in­no­va­tions that could be adapted for use in the brand’s fu­ture ve­hi­cles. Kia demon­strated th­ese in­no­va­tions through a set of in­ter­ac­tive cock­pit-style ex­pe­ri­ences, pre­sent­ing the brand’s ‘Be­yond Au­tonomous Driv­ing’ vi­sion with tech­nolo­gies that idle pas­sen­gers can draw upon in a fu­ture of ve­hi­cle au­ton­omy.

The first cock­pit gave the vis­i­tors the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the Niro EV Con­cept’s pi­o­neer­ing new HMI, with enhanced in­ter­ac­tion be­tween vis­i­tors and the ve­hi­cle. The in­fo­tain­ment and HVAC (heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion

and air con­di­tion­ing) sys­tems are con­trolled by touch and ges­ture, with the steer­ing wheel act­ing as a re­mote. The driver can ‘swipe’ along a per­fo­rated leather area on the base of the two-spoke wheel, with dif­fer­ent ges­tures serv­ing to switch be­tween fa­vorite mu­sic tracks, turn up the vol­ume, and ad­just cabin ven­ti­la­tion set­tings. A dig­i­tal dash­board dis­play pro­vides ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion to the driver, such as ve­hi­cle set­tings, pow­er­train sta­tus, and trip in­for­ma­tion.

Cre­at­ing a more dig­i­tal in­ter­ac­tion be­tween car and driver than in a tra­di­tional ve­hi­cle, the HMI al­lows drivers to ‘log-in’ to the ve­hi­cle us­ing face and voice recog­ni­tion. The fa­cial and voice recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy, de­vel­oped in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ama­zon Web Ser­vices (AWS), wel­comes drivers and ad­justs ve­hi­cle set­tings based on pre­set in­di­vid­ual pref­er­ences. Lever­ag­ing ‘Ama­zon Rekog­ni­tion’ and ‘Ama­zon Polly’ – highly ac­cu­rate fa­cial anal­y­sis and voice ser­vices pro­vided by AWS – the new sys­tem dis­ables many of the car’s func­tions if the driver does not pass the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process.

A se­cond cock­pit demon­strated the world’s first in-ve­hi­cle 5G con­nec­tion – with a real-time con­nec­tion es­tab­lished be­tween Las Ve­gas and Seoul, Korea. The 5G con­nec­tion en­abled users to stream con­tents re­li­ably into the car, linked to the ex­hibit’s in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem.

The se­cond cock­pit also pre­sented the Niro EV Con­cept’s Sep­a­rate Sound Con­trol Sys­tem, and al­lowed users in the front and rear rows to ex­pe­ri­ence Kia’s sound sep­a­ra­tion tech­nol­ogy. The tech­nol­ogy al­lows front and rear pas­sen­gers to lis­ten to their own mu­sic at the same time with­out in­trud­ing on oth­ers in the car. The sys­tem fea­tures eight speak­ers in­stalled in the head­rests, si­mul­ta­ne­ously pump­ing out sounds for each seat row, and us­ing noise-can­cel­la­tion tech­nol­ogy to ‘mute’ sound from the other row of seats. By cre­at­ing two sound zones in the car, oc­cu­pants in dif­fer­ent rows can en­joy lis­ten­ing to sep­a­rate mu­sic or pod­casts. De­vel­oped in-house, Kia be­lieves this tech­nol­ogy could be adapted to en­hance oc­cu­pant com­fort in fu­ture pro­duc­tion cars.

WiBLE car-shar­ing ser­vice

En­abling ur­ban and subur­ban mo­bil­ity, Kia will roll-out its ‘WiBLE’ car-shar­ing ser­vice to new re­gions from 2018, start­ing with Europe. It was launched in Korea in 2017. Kia plans to ex­pand the ser­vice into other mar­kets around the world in the com­ing years. The com­pany will an­nounce the first Euro­pean lo­ca­tions for the launch of WiBLE later in 2018. WiBLE will be ser­viced in the des­ig­nated ar­eas in city cen­ters, pro­vid­ing ve­hi­cles to cus­tomers who need to drive but may not own a car of their own or who want more con­ve­nient drive in city cen­ters.

In Korea, WiBLE users have ac­cess to a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent Kia cars to com­plete their jour­neys, in­clud­ing the Soul EV, Niro hy­brid cross­over and larger ve­hi­cles. Ve­hi­cles are equipped with a range of Kia’s ac­tive safety tech­nolo­gies to help cus­tomers com­plete jour­neys safely in a car with which they may not be fa­mil­iar. This for­mat is ex­pected to be car­ried over into new WiBLE mar­kets.

WiBLE is ac­cessed via an ac­com­pa­ny­ing smart­phone app. Users then pay for in­di­vid­ual jour­neys in a WiBLE ve­hi­cle, charged ac­cord­ing to the time they use the car. WiBLE in Europe en­ables users to com­plete one-way jour­neys, rather than re­quir­ing them to re­turn the car to the same point, for max­i­mum con­ve­nience and value for money.

Kia’s 5G cock­pit demon­strated the world’s first in-ve­hi­cle 5G con­nec­tion

Kia Niro EV

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