Kia: We’re Ready To Start Building Self-Driving Cars

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Kia is a South Korean car maker that has been in business since 1957. They are the country’s second-largest car producer. They have been busy bees, with global sales totalling 2.75 million cars in 2013.

You will often find their car models for sale in various parts of the world. They enjoy relative success in the global markets they target.

The South Korean firm likes to come up with amazing technology in their newest models. One market they are keen to take advantage of is the driverless car market.

It’s a well-known fact that autonomous car technology is still in its infancy. But Kia have made a bold claim that they are ready to start building driverless cars! The only trouble is, the threat of litigation has put up hurdles for converting that dream into reality.

The thing about driverless car technology is that it is still too new. People worry about the mechanics of it all, and what will happen if an accident occurs. Car makers have been trialling driverless cars for years. Even Google has jumped on the bandwagon.

Why Kia is hesitant to sell driverless cars

Like other car makers, Kia is hesitant to start selling autonomous vehicles to the general public.

The first hurdle to overcome is the threat of litigation. Nations such as the United States have a litigious culture, and so car makers like Kia have to cover their backs in case things go wrong.

If people aren’t in control of the cars they travel in, the car’s manufacturer will be liable for any compensation claims.

The next stumbling block is cost. As with any new technology, the parts used to build driverless cars will be expensive, and those costs must pass onto the buyer. You only have to look at electric cars for a real-life comparison and example!

Finally, there is consumer confidence. People like to be in charge of their cars. They are going to be hesitant about letting a computer do the work for them. At the moment, there are many unanswered questions about the technology.

For instance, how can a car drive itself along an unpaved or unknown road? What would happen if the onboard computer system has a meltdown? And can you still take manual control of the car?

Driverless cars are the future

Orth Hedrick, VP of Kia America’s product planning, reckons there is no doubt driverless cars will be the future.

Mr. Hedrick didn’t want to say when Kia could start building driverless cars. He seems to think they won’t be a common sight on our roads for at least ten to fifteen years.

For now, you won’t be able to pop down to your local Lifestyle Kia dealer and buy a driverless car.

In the UK, the government has given the go-ahead for public trials of autonomous cars in three cities next year. Some states in the US have already given the green light for such trials, such as California, for example.

Only time will tell when driverless cars are commonplace on our roads.

Featured Photo Source: juanelo242a (Flickr)

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