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Driverless cars from Kia hit the road in Nevada

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Drivers in Nevada might soon spot a Kia Soul EV that pilots itself because the South Korean brand is the latest automaker to get authorization from the state to test autonomous vehicles on public roads. Kia's development of driverless tech is part of the company's $2 billion investment with Hyundai through 2018 to help bring some of these systems to production models.

Rather than handing complete control to the computers immediately, Kia first plans to introduce partially driverless features on models by 2020. Its engineers intend to test technology like Traffic Jam Assist, Highway Autonomous Driving, Urban Autonomous Driving, an Emergency Stop System, and Autonomous Valet Parking on Nevada's roads. Kia doesn't foresee a fully piloted model on sale until 2030 and believes innovations in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications are necessary to make that possible.

Nevada has been a vital site for autonomous technology development since the state passed a law to allow testing on public roads. Google was among the earliest to get a permit, and Audi also quickly jumped on board. Freightliner was first to expand the authorization to commercial vehicles with its license for the Inspiration semi truck earlier this year. We're sure more will follow in short order.

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Kia Motors granted Nevada autonomous driving license

- US state of Nevada grants Korean manufacturer permission to test autonomous driving technologies on public roads
- Soul EV's Advanced Driver Assistance Systems tested in Beatty, Nevada
- US$2 billion investment by 2018 to develop autonomous vehicle technology
- Kia to introduce partially-autonomous driving technologies by 2020, with
arrival of fully-autonomous vehicles targeted for 2030

(SEOUL) December 14, 2015 – Kia Motors has been granted a licence by the US state of Nevada to carry out testing of its autonomous driving technologies on public roads for the first time.

Kia – together with sister company Hyundai – hopes to experiment with partially- and fully- autonomous driving technologies in real-world conditions, an important part of its roadmap for autonomous driving.

Kia plans to introduce a range of partially-autonomous driving technologies to its model line- up including eco-friendly vehicles by 2020, and is aiming to bring its first fully-autonomous car to market by 2030. The initial stage of investment by Kia and Hyundai – totalling US$2 billion by 2018 – will enable the companies to develop new Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) technologies and employ a greater number of engineers. The investment will lead to the introduction of next-generation smart vehicles in the coming years.

Dr. Tae-Won Lim, Vice President, Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute of Hyundai Motor Group, commented, "A great deal of research and rigorous product testing is being undertaken in order to make the 'self-driving car' a reality. Thanks to this license 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 – both for partially- and fully-autonomous driving – will ultimately make driving safer for all road users."

Kia Advanced Driver Assistance System

Kia is planning to introduce a range of partially-autonomous ADAS technologies in the coming years, with an array of new functions anticipated for introduction to market by 2020. These include Traffic Jam Assist (TJA), Highway Autonomous Driving (HAD), Urban Autonomous Driving (UAD), Emergency Stop System (ESS), and Autonomous Valet Parking technologies.

At all times, the new range of ADAS technologies can be circumvented by direct driver control, enabling closer control of the car as desired.

These new technologies 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 primarily designed to make driving safer and easier for Kia customers by identifying hazards at the earliest possible opportunity and allowing the driver – or the car – to take the appropriate reaction. Existing Kia technologies include Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Auto Emergency Braking (AEB) and Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC).

Kia plans to bring fully-autonomous cars to market within 15 years

Over the longer-term, Kia is targeting 2030 for the introduction of fully-autonomous vehicles. As a key part of Kia's development of fully-autonomous driving technologies – the true 'self- driving car' – Kia is focusing R&D resources on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to- infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication.

By enabling cars to effectively communicate directly and independently with their surroundings, Kia will be able to make ADAS-equipped vehicles as safe and efficient as possible.

Photo caption: (left) Robin Allender, Deputy Administrator of Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, and (right) Dr. Tae-Won Lim, Vice President, Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute of Hyundai Motor Group

About Kia Motors Corporation

Kia Motors Corporation ( – a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart – was founded in 1944 and is Korea's oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. Over 3 million Kia vehicles a year are produced in 10 manufacturing and assembly operations in five countries which are then sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering around 180 countries. Kia today has around 49,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of nearly US$45 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Open and an official automotive partner of FIFA – the governing body of the FIFA World CupTM. Kia Motors Corporation's brand slogan – "The Power to Surprise" – represents the company's global commitment to surprise the world by providing exciting and inspiring experiences that go beyond expectations.

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