Kia presented its future mobility vision/autonomous vehicle exhibits at the 2018 CES in Vegas, which included the Niro EV and in-car technology.
Kia Niro EV Concept
The lead exhibit is the Kia Niro EV Concept which combines a stylish design to a modern compact SUV. 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 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.
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 lithium-polymer 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.
Sixteen Kia fuel-cell electric cars in the pipeline
Kia will continue to expand its range of environmentally-friendly cars in the coming years, and plans to offer a total of 16 electrified vehicles by 2025, including a fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) in 2020.
Interactive exhibits preview new in-car technology
At CES 2018, Kia is exhibiting its latest HMI technologies, autonomous drive features and the world’s first in-car 5G connection. These exhibits hint at innovations that could be adapted for use in the brand’s future vehicles. Kia is demonstrating 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 gives 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. The HMI cockpit at CES 2018 lets users experiment with these exciting new in-car technologies.
A second cockpit demonstrates the world’s first in-vehicle 5G connection, with a real-time connection established between Las Vegas and Seoul, Korea. The 5G connection enables users to stream contents reliably into the car, linked to the exhibit’s infotainment system.
The second cockpit also presents the Niro EV Concept’s Separate Sound Control System, allowing 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.
Finally, visitors can experience Kia’s own autonomous drive support technologies with a series of virtual reality exhibits. The VRcar with which they may not be familiar. This format is expected to be carried over into new WiBLE markets.