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Kia to launch self-driving car, new sub-brand

2016-01-06 09:46

SELF-DRIVING KIA ON THE WAY: Kia will launch a self-driving car as part of its new Drive Wise sub-brand in 2013. Image: AP / John Locher

Tom Krisher

Las Vegas - Kia is promising to bring a self-driving car to the public by 2030, a decade longer than some companies have promised but perhaps a more realistic time frame.

At the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, Kia also says it will introduce a partially autonomous car by 2020.

The car will still need a human behind the wheel. The Korean automaker, which is owned by Hyundai, also has received a license from Nevada to test an autonomous Kia Soul electric vehicle on public roads.

New Drive Wise brand

Tech giant Google has promised to have a self-driving car in the public's hands by 2020, and other automakers have hinted at 2025.

Experts say the 2020 time frame likely would be limited to small geographic areas because technical, regulatory and legal issues still have to be worked out.

Kia is creating a sub-brand for autonomous technologies called Drive Wise. At the CES consumer-electronics show in Las Vegas this week, the company will show off technologies including highway and urban autonomous driving, as well as the ability to follow the vehicle in front of you.

Kia also will show off a system that analyzes drivers' faces to make sure they're paying attention to the road. If they aren't, the car will automatically steer to the side of the road and stop.

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