Kia Motors Partners with Google Cloud on a AI-based Vehicle Owner's Manual

Kia Motors Partners with Google Cloud on a AI-based Vehicle Owner's Manual

Author: FutureCar Staff    

Artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) based applications are becoming more common in today's technology-driven world and now these technologies will help drivers to better understand and interact with their new Kia vehicles.

South Korean automaker Kia Motors announced a new partnership with Google Cloud on an AI-based vehicle owners manual, that may one day make the printed or electronic text manuals a thing of the past. The owner's manual is in the form of an app, and is fittingly called the "Kia Owner's Manual App." 

The owner's manual is fully-interactive and allows the driver to take a picture of the various controls in their vehicle using a smartphone to learn how each feature works.

Kia Motors developed the new app in partnership with Google Cloud and South Korean cloud services provider Megazone. Megazone was the first official partner in Korea of Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The Kia Owner's Manual App is an easy to use app which explains the name and functions of features found inside Kia models using a smartphone camera. 

Instead of having to refer to the printed or digital owner's manual, drivers can use the app to more easily find information about individual vehicle features by simply taking a picture of the various controls inside the cabin. Kia said the app has the advantage of being able to explain functions simply and conveniently.

AI-powered Symbol Recognition Powered by Google Cloud

Kia has offered augmented reality (AR) mobile apps to customers since 2017. However, the company said its use was limited as it required custom reconfiguring for each Kia model, such as measuring interior layout and location of switches for every new model. 

To address this problem, Google Cloud and Megazone focused on using AI to recognize symbols on the switches making the app compatible with any new model, as control symbols in vehicles are standardized across the auto industry.

By partnering with Google Cloud and Megazone, Kia is able to tailor the app for dozens of Kia's global markets.

The powerful AI capabilities of Google Cloud include image learning technology. For example, a driver can take a picture of a symbol inside the vehicle and a ‘Symbol Scanner' function will accurately identify what it is, from any angle.

For example, if a user scans the ‘cruise control' symbol on the steering wheel with a smartphone, the AI platform will recognize the image via the cloud server communication. The smartphone then instantly displays a video highlighting the detailed functions of the cruise control system, as well as how to operate it.

"The Kia Owner's Manual App will offer a unique customer experience with our products," said Eui-sung Kim, Vice President and Head of Global Dealer & Service of Kia Motors. "Kia drivers will be able to enhance the safety and convenience of ownership with the app, which provides easy and intuitive information on the various functions of their vehicle and our latest technologies."

In addition, the Kia Owner's Manual App is fully-searchable, meaning no more flipping through pages of a physical manual trying to find the relevant information. It also provides a Symbol Index and Warning Indicator Index, providing an illustrated list of all in-car symbols and instrument cluster warning lights used by Kia vehicles and also their definitions.

Kia Owner's Manual App is scheduled to launch in the second half of this year, starting with new 2021 models to be released worldwide.

"The new AI-powered Digital Owner's Manual is a great example of the kind of challenges AI can solve and how it can help enhance the customer experience," said Kiyoung Choi, Country Director of Google Cloud Korea.

The Kia Owner's Manual App won the grand prize in the Intelligent Application category at the 2020 Spring Conference of the Korea Intelligent Information System Society for its innovation. 

In the future, Kia Motors plans to develop additional convenience services through its collaborative experience with Google Cloud.

FutureCar Staff
FutureCar Staff
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