Equipped with rear-facing seats and a 40-inch TV, the Soul First Class aims to be a mobile lounge.
Described as being “an upscale inter-city chariot,” the one-off Soul will provide a glimpse of Kia’s objective to have an entirely autonomous car on sale by 2030. Since the onboard computers, cameras, radars, and sensors will be working together to take care of the driving, the concept won’t even have a steering wheel.
In addition, Kia is overhauling the Soul’s cabin by installing rear-facing seats and a 40-inch TV hooked up to a high-end audio system to allow those inside to relax while in transit. A motorized center console incorporating two tablets will provide access to all of the concept’s functions, and there are going to be plenty of other amenities to make the driverless Soul a living room on wheels. Gray wood flooring along with white and grey leather upholstery featuring diamond stitching will further enhance the feeling of a mobile lounge.
As far as the exterior is concerned, Kia has decided to go with a blue body paint and a new look for the upper and lower grilles fitted with LED lighting. Rounding off the changes for the SEMA-bound Soul concept are the 19-inch Rotiform Monoblock CCV wheels featuring an aerodynamic profile and a two-tone appearance.
In order to achieve its 2030 driverless car target, Kia has established the “Drive Wise” sub-brand focusing on the development of autonomous driving technologies. The company’s engineers are hard at work preparing systems such as Highway Autonomous Driving (HAD) and Urban Autonomous Driving (UAD) that will rely on the car’s cameras, sensors, and cameras to scan the surroundings and effectively enable the car take care of the driving on its own without the need of human assistance.
Kia is also developing a Preceding Vehicle Following (PVF) lane-keeping assist system, which keeps a close eye on the car in front and follows it, even on roads where the markings are trickier to spot. On top of that, Kia is busy preparing a Traffic Jam Assist system to monitor the car in front and maintain a safe distance at all times during busy city traffic. A Driver Status Monitoring system will analyze the driver’s face and is going to activate the Emergency Stop system if it will notice the driver is distracted.
Lastly, an Autonomous Valet Parking system is also in the works and will eliminate the hassle of having to park the car since the owner will be able to remotely do that using a smart key or a smartwatch.
Kia will preview its autonomous driving technologies starting November 1 at SEMA in Las Vegas where it will have on display the Soul First Class concept.
Gallery: Kia Soul concept for SEMA
Kia Motors plans to put a fully autonomous vehicle on the road by 2030. So for SEMA 2016, Kia Motors America envisions a not-too-distant future where vehicles will not only drive on their own, but will be tailor-built to our active and diverse lifestyles. One such vehicle is the “Soul First Class,” an upscale inter-city chariot that lets business travelers work and relax as they journey to out-of-town meetings and destinations. This custom-built creation -- with its rear-facing seats, absence of steering wheel and wide array of luxury enhancements – is one of four vehicles that imagines what living the “Autonomous Life” might one day look like.
This Soul’s passengers will be greeted by a 40-inch flat screen connected to premium-level speakers throughout the cabin. A custom motorized center console reveals two tablets, which control this futuristic Kia. To match the first-class electronic system is first-class comfort with white and grey leather with diamond stitching throughout and gray wood flooring to match. The Soul’s exterior brings the same level of luxury as the interior with PPG Lux Blue exterior paint and modified upper and lower grilles with LED lighting. Aerodynamic 19-inch Rotiform Monoblock CCV wheels bring a modern vibe to the car’s exterior, rounding out the complete autonomous-vehicle inspired overhaul. #SEMA2016