Kia Aims to Develop Its Own Self-Driving Car by 2030

Kia hopes to develop a fully autonomous driving vehicle by 2030. Kia/Courtesy

The South Korean car manufacturer Kia is throwing its hat into the autonomous driving ring with a car of its own by 2030.

In a jam-packed press conference at CES on Tuesday afternoon, Kia announced its "DRIVE WISE" project to develop fully self-driving cars in 15 years. Kia already has a prototype being tested and earned an autonomous driving license in Nevada in December, allowing the car to roam public roads.

In its introductory video, Kia's self-driving car will include highway autonomous driving, self-parking and a smartwatch command system. Owners will be able to hail and order to "valet park" the car without a driver by speaking into the smartwatch.

The DRIVE WISE project will be a natural progression of its current autonomous driving capabilities. By 2020, Kia plans to introduce partially autonomous driving systems to its model lineup. Seung Ho Hwang, the executive vice president of Hyundai Motor Company, Kia's parent company, says Kia will invest $2 billion by 2018 to quicken the development.

Kia currently has some of its 2020 hopes being developed in a bundle titled Advanced Driving Assistant System, or ADAS for short. ADAS will include smart cruise control in high speeds, blind spot detection, emergency braking and parking assistance.

"ADAS is designed to allow drivers to drive without worrying," Hwang says. "But in certain cases, ADAS has been burdensome."

One other cool feature Kia has planned is the i-COCKPIT, which allow the inside of the windshield to be interactive. The car will detect the presence of the owner's smartwatch and starts up seating position, temperature control and music choice obn a LCD display—an all-too-familiar technology seen in action movies like Mission Impossible 4.