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Back in October 2022, the Hyundai Motor Group (HMG), parent group of the Kia Corp, announced its new investment into software-defined vehicles (SDVs). It sounds like a concept out of sci-fi novel, but automobiles are becoming more electric and less mechanical every year. With battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) taking the industry by storm, and technology like smartphones and content streaming becoming the norm, vehicles run by operating systems (OS) are the next big thing. Heck, several automakers have discussed SDVs, such as the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and its upcoming Google OS SDV. Well, Korean automaker Kia is definitely jumping ahead, introducing its SDV technology on its EV9 electric SUV via on-demand features and over-the-air (OTA) software updates.
OTA updates are nothing new. Infotainment systems in every automobile work with OTA updates assuming the driver/owner has an active subscription. Like OS computer updates, or video game patches, whenever a new version of software is created, it’s uploaded to the server, and the infotainment automatically downloads it in the background to update its running software. A lot of the time, this would mainly affect the core components of a vehicle and its technology/user-interface experience. Now, with many comfort and convenience features able to be configured through a touchscreen versus buttons and knobs, the EV9's OTA software update capability will also have an effect on convenience features, offering consumers endless possibilities as an SDV.
The integration of such technology is broken down into four functional areas, based on a domain centralized architecture, and following the Group’s current SDV strategy. Announced in October during the Unlock the Software Age event, upgradeable SDVs give consumers the change to configure vehicle functions, including safety, convenience, connectivity, security, and driving performance. Soon, the interior cabin of an automobile could be as customizable as a smartphone.
Customize Features anytime through the Kia Connect Store
Does that heading sound familiar? Back in 2019, before Stellantis was formed, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced its new Uconnect Market Platform. More so aimed at products and services outside of the automobile, the newest application is the new STLA SmartCockpit, debuted at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show. Designed to give consumers access to the newest applications and driving capabilities via autonomy through OTA updates, this is another concept growing in popularity. With Kia SDVs, consumers can remotely purchase and install new software functions based on their needs. This includes innovative experiences, such as Highway Driving Pilot (HDP) (level 3 autonomy), Remote Smart Parking Assist 2, Lighting Patterns, and more. Consumers can visit the Kia Connect Store website and browse and select the features they desire to further personalize their vehicle based on their individual lifestyle.
Not Just About Ownership
SDV technology won’t solely apply to owners of new vehicles. Kia announced plans to shift focus to used vehicles in the face of the new Inflation Reduction Act Changes for Federal Tax Credit, and to ensure its diverse consumer base has access to the Kia Connect Store, SDVs will be available to new car sales, as well as those who opt for leasing, rental, and used car sales. Speaking of rentals consumers can also rent products through the Kia Connect Store to utilize as they please. A few examples include entertainment-related services like movies, games, and video conferencing apps. It’s all about personalization and redesigning the interior cabin to match the digital life of the consumer, a very popular concept during the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show – turning cockpits into mobile living spaces.
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