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The Kia UCD or "user-centered driver" concept at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) features a hand-gesture controller, one possible way for automakers to grapple with the problem of distracted driving.
"Thanks to advanced infrared light and camera sensors, users can quickly access radio and navigation options with simple hand or finger movements without taking their eyes from the road," said Kia Motors America executives.
The UCD concept also includes an 18-inch head-up display, said to offer drivers an "augmented-reality snapshot" of information such as speed, navigation and traffic information. Automakers and suppliers are racing to incorporate the "virtual hand" into the cockpit.
Edmunds.com reports that the Korean automaker did not say when such technology will appear on a production car or how much it will add to a car's sticker price.
Automotive supplier Visteon will introduce the Horizon Cockpit at the show. It uses gesture recognition to operate various controls in the car.
"An advanced camera system tracks and mirrors the driver's gestures by mapping movement through a full kinematic spatial hand which, in turn, replicates the motion as a virtual hand on the cockpit's display," said Visteon in a statement.
The supplier calls it one of the emerging "disruptive technologies" designed to improve vehicle controls and cut down on distractions.
The Kia IVI, an in-vehicle infotainment concept will also debut at the 2014 International CES. This concept features a 20-inch multi-touch center console display.
Information is then synchronized through a portable plug-in tablet or the driver's smartphone, providing access to a suite of services, including concierge, social networking and parking assist.
The concept also has "Smart Radio" functions that include the ability to personalize playlists according to the user's mood or based on five templates for different driving environments, such as summer driving on a coastal road.
"Kia's teams are constantly looking for new and better ways to strengthen the relationship between driver and car," the company said.