Unless it’s in the shell of a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am and offers “self-driving” as an option rather than a standard, I have zero interest in owning (or riding in) an “autonomous” car. One of the most important aspects of car ownership is driving, and for that reason alone – nevermind the fact that I’m seldom comfortable even with another human at the wheel due to perceived lack of my own control – and a vehicle that is devoid of a steering wheel is a prospect that is terrifying. That said, one of my favorite automakers – Kia – is set to unveil the stuff of my nightmares at SEMA 2016 in Las Vegas next month, and now there’s a preview. Check it out…
#RockFatherRides: Hmmm… a fully-autonomous vehicle from @Kia… the “Soul First Class.” #SEMA2016 pic.twitter.com/5BE1x6K0y4
— The Rock Father™ (@therockfather) October 24, 2016
From the Official Announcement: “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″
I don’t know about you, but I have no interest in “living the Autonomous Life.” If I want to sit and work, I’ll travel by plane or train… and probably still not get any work done – or relax – as usual. But I’d still park a Kia in my driveway.