November 07, 2016 @ 03:40 PM

Check out how Kia picture their autonomous cars will look like!

KIA takes the covers off of four autonomous concepts at the SEMA car show in Las Vegas this week.


With more and more car makers looking into autonomous driving, Kia is smart to also venture into the self driving field. SEMA is a haven for car enthusiasts, making it the perfect place for Kia to show off their latest creations to the world. 


Kia Motors America (KMA) displayed a total of five vehicles. Four of the vehicles are existing Kia models, the Niro, Sedona, Sorento and Soul, that have been reimagined and hand built as self driving machines. The fifth vehicle is the Telluride hybrid SUV concept that we first saw early this year at the North American International Auto Show. Bear in mind, Kia designed these concepts to be in tune with active and diverse lifestyles, hence the names they've come up with. 

We begin with the Niro Triathlon. As the name suggests, it's been designed to see to the comforts of triathletes who train with all night runs, trying bike rides and long swims. Being autonomous, the Niro allows the triathletes to get their rest in between drives to different locations. At the back you get a custom bike rack with space for a tool box and a tablet together with the ONEU safety laser light that ensures the car doesn't back into anything and crumple your bike. 


The LGE-CTS Motorsports custom built concept features doors that open a full 90 degrees, which means stepping in and out is a breeze. Once you're in, you can simply sink into the Human Touch zero gravity ergonomic reclining chair that can also be a bed. Based on the 2017 Niro Hybrid, the Triathlon gets a lower ride height, beefier sports tyres and lightweight 18-inch Method Rally Race wheels. 


Next up for a makeover is the Sedona minivan. Collaborating with School of Rock, the performance based music school, the Sedona has been refurbished to become a rolling recording studio that drives itself. In order to accommodate the digital mixing board and flat screen monitors, the driver-side B-pillar, steering assembly and gear selector have been relocated. 


School of Rock intend to transport their musicians from show to show, so it's a good thing the there's ample storage on the roof for their gear. Drop the tailgate to unleash a stack of amps to rock your local party or enjoy a sound proof focussed recording session with ceiling mounted microphones. The exterior pulls off the show biz look with bold livery and black 20-inch Vossen wheels. 


If a snow storm were to invade the SEMA show, your best bet would be to get into the Sorento Ski Gondola. Built by LUX Motorwerks, the family SUV is mounted on orange Dominator Rubber Tracks, granting it access to high ground ski slopes while the occupants enjoy the view from inside. The Sorento has a rugged look added to it with a PPG SIlver Metallic exterior and a black and orange leather interior. 


Since it is expected to tackle snow, LED light bars have been installed to boost visibility while the interior has been lined with waterproof LINE-X just in case you get some snow in it. You have tonnes of space inside to store all your gear while the roof rake will easily take your skis and poles. 


Soul First Class the autonomous Kia meant for the upper-class customers. The Soul will drive you to and from your business travels on a set of 19-inch Rotiform Monoblock CCV wheels. On the outside, the PPG Lux Blue Paint resembles that of the Rolls Royce Wraith and is sure to give an aura of elegance. Luxury is redefined inside with rear facing seats, a 40-inch Samsung LED TV hooked up to a Mac pc and high end speakers. What good is luxurious gadgets without luxurious comfort? Hence you get seats that are covered in a white and grey diamond stitched leather affair that complements the grey wood flooring.

 
The fifth vehicle displayed, as mentioned earlier, is the Telluride concept that isn't autonomous but rather sets the company up for a bright future. If the Telluride becomes reality, it will sit above the Sorento as it is bigger and longer in dimensions. Perhaps to take on the likes of BMW's X5 and Audi's Q7.


Filled to the brim with state of the art technology, the Telluride greatly prioritises its passengers’ health. A system called Light Emitted Rejuvenation(LER), emits therapeutic light from a wing-shaped LED panel on the roof that improves passengers' energy levels obtained from Smart Sensors that are embedded in the seats. 


The design is entirely in house at Kia Design Centre America and give the vehicle a bigger stance and more of a presence. The flared fenders and 22-inch Hankook Ventus ST wrapped wheels certainly do their part to help the cause. At the front, Kia's signature tiger-nose grille and metal skid plate under the bumper meet the quad-LED headlights that we've seen on Kias of late. The rear is nicely done with dual exhaust tips and thin vertical taillights, keeping things modern. 


Michael Sprague, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, KMA said: “Over the course of our 22 years in the U.S. market, we’ve watched with pride as our vehicles have helped people live their active and diverse lifestyles. This year’s SEMA show gives us the opportunity to ponder what the future of living the autonomous life may one day resemble.”


The Korean car maker has made it explicitly clear that these cars are mere concepts, built specifically for the SEMA show and will not be available for sale. What a shame. 


Y.Dharmeswaran

 

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