Kia is trialling fully autonomous cars on public roads in South Korea under a project codenamed DriveWise.
Paul Philpott, Kia Motors UK chairman and CEO said much of the technology required for an autonomous car was already available on Kia models and the biggest step-change facing the market was the transition from driven cars to driverless cars.
“This will be challenging but it will happen over the next decade. We will definitely see it first on closed areas, such as airports and university campuses,” Philpott said.
He also predicts an accelerating trend towards alternative fuels this year at the expense of diesel, spearheaded for Kia by the Niro and Optima plug-in hybrids.
“Niro has been a great surprise,” he said. “We have a big order bank, with more retail than fleet, but as a user-chooser car with all the conversation on diesel powertrain, there are big opportunities with plug-in cars.
“Air quality is a hot topic so having a range of options is important for any brand. But it’s not the end of diesel; it is still the ideal choice for some drivers.”