Kia blind spot monitoring and crash avoidance wins 2020 Autoblog Technology of the Year Award

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, Jan. 30, 2020, Autoblog
 

The Autoblog 2020 Technology of the Year winner is Kia’s blind spot system. We judged the combination of blind spot monitoring and active blind spot crash avoidance on the 2020 Kia Telluride as the best in the industry.

The Kia blind spot system won with 204 points, beating the Mercedes E-Active Body Control (189), Subaru DriverFocus (182) and Ram Multifunction Tailgate (139). Autoblog’s editorial staff extensively tested the technologies last fall in Michigan. Three main questions were asked, and editors assigned point values out of 10 based on how well these technologies answered them. The questions were: What is its purpose? Does it work? Does it advance the industry?

Kia’s system starts with a traditional blind spot warning light in the side mirror. When equipped with the available head-up display, there’s a second warning light beamed onto the windshield in your line of sight adjacent to other information. This lets you know if there’s a car in your blind spot without even turning around to look. It isn’t a feature exclusive to the Telluride (Mazda does something similar), but Kia takes it a step further. The next level of warning is slightly more intense. If you activate the turn signal while the car senses something is in your blind spot, the steering wheel begins to gently vibrate. It’s not a violent or distracting buzz, but it’s enough to grab your attention. A warning chime is also activated at this time.

The cherry on top is something Kia calls the “Blind Spot View Monitor.” It uses a system of cameras to display a live camera feed of either the left or right blind spot in the central digital portion of the gauge cluster when the turn signal is activated. Hyundai uses a similar system in the Palisade and new Sonata. The monitor in the cluster allows you to see your blind spot from the ground up in the gauge cluster without having to turn your head. The view is dependent upon road conditions, but it’s a nicely integrated blind spot camera feed – the resolution is solid, and it’s still useful to a degree at night. We find Kia’s implementation to be superior to Hyundai’s, where the camera feed takes over the digital speedometer or tachometer when you flip on the turn signal. Kia sets the camera feed in the center screen where the trip computer normally displays.

This Blind Spot View Monitor tech is also a massive improvement over the comparable Honda LaneWatch technology. That system would obfuscate the infotainment display from you (annoying when sitting at traffic lights with your blinker on), and it was only capable of showing the passenger side view.

If all this fails, the blind spot collision avoidance system will attempt to prevent a crash for you. When an approaching vehicle is detected next to or too close behind your vehicle, the system can apply the brakes to the opposite side of the car, dragging it back over into your lane before a collision occurs. It notifies the driver in the dash when this activates.

All of this put together makes it much harder for a driver to initiate a crash with a vehicle in their blind spot.

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