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Kia envisions the post-autonomous era at CES 2019

It will present its Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving system, which claims to be a world-first

Kia will unveil the new technology with its Space of Emotive Driving exhibit
Kia will unveil the new technology with its Space of Emotive Driving exhibit

Automaker Kia Motors is laying the foundations for a future when cars drive themselves. It will preview a range of new technologies developed for the post-autonomous driving era at the CES 2019 electronics trade show in Las Vegas from 8-11 January. Included in the line-up is a smart city concept car.


Building on the the brand’s Beyond Autonomous Driving vision for connected vehicles presented at CES 2018, Kia, part of the Hyundai Motor Company, is looking ahead to a time when autonomous driving has become the norm with an interactive Space of Emotive Driving exhibit at this year’s show.


Cabin space centred on human senses


The Space of Emotive Driving exhibit will present Kia’s new Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving (R.E.A.D) System, which it describes as a “world-first emotional AI-based optimised and interactive in-cabin space”, centred on the human senses.


The R.E.A.D System can optimise and personalise a vehicle cabin space by analysing a driver’s emotional state in real-time through AI-based bio-signal recognition technology. The technology monitors a driver’s emotional state using sensors to read their facial expressions, heart rate and electrodermal activity.

“The system enables continuous communication between driver and vehicle through the unspoken language of feeling”

It then tailors the interior environment according to its assessment, potentially altering conditions relating to the five senses within the cabin, creating a more "joyful mobility experience", said Kia. AI deep-learning technology enables the system to establish a baseline in user behaviour, and then identify patterns and trends to customise the cabin accordingly.


"Kia considers the interactive cabin a focal point for future mobility, and the R.E.A.D System represents a convergence of cutting-edge vehicle control technology and AI-based emotional intelligence,” said Albert Biermann, president and head of research and development division of Hyundai Motor Group.


He added: “The system enables continuous communication between driver and vehicle through the unspoken language of feeling, thereby providing an optimal, human-sense oriented space for the driver in real-time.”


Touch-type gesture control technology


The R.E.A.D System is revealed alongside V-Touch, a world-first virtual touch-type gesture control technology. V-Touch employs a 3D camera to monitor users’ eyes and fingertip, allowing occupants to manage several in-car features via an unobtrusive head-up display. Through simple finger gestures, all vehicle occupants can make changes to the cabin environment, including lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) and entertainment systems, eliminating the need for buttons or touch screen.


Another feature of the innovative R.E.A.D System is Kia’s music-response vibration seats, where occupants can feel their favourite songs as well as listen to them. The sensory-based signal processing technology adapts seat vibrations according to sound frequencies of the music being played. The vibration seats can also be set to massage mode to increase cabin comfort, as well as enhancing safety by providing haptic warnings from the vehicle’s advanced driver-assist systems.


Future smart-city mobility


Kia is also presenting a potential solution for smart-city mobility at CES 2019 with its SEED Car concept. The ’SEED Car’ is a four-wheel electric cycle with a range of 100km, based on a pedal-electric hybrid system, requiring pedal input from the driver but with a high degree of electric power assistance.

Kia’s music-response vibration seats allow occupants to ’feel’ their favourite songs as well as listen to them

The concept has been designed to make urban driving easy, fun and safe, while exploring how Kia could make the final mile of any journey possible with a personal mobility device.


For longer journeys, the SEED Car is housed within the BIRD Car, an autonomous shuttle vehicle capable of travelling further than the four-wheel cycle’s range capabilities. Once within 100km of its final urban destination, the SEED Car is ’dispersed’ to complete its journey.


Some of the technical expertise required to make this demonstration possible arose out of Kia’s research collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab’s Affective Computing Group as part of Kia’s Media Lab membership.


Kia will have specially-designed experiential modules installed at North Hall Booth #7029 to demonstrate the potential of the R.E.A.D. System. For an enhanced visitor experience, Kia will operate 15-minute Docent Tours at regular intervals at the booth throughout the duration of CES 2019. The guided tour will give attendees a more in-depth understanding of the new technologies on display.


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