New app to roll out in phased manner in international markets later in the year

Developed in partnership with Google Cloud and Megazone

Features an AI-based function to identify symbols on switches via the phone’s camera and provide relevant information

Kia Motors Corporation has announced the launch of the ‘Kia Owner’s Manual app’, an AI-based owner’s manual developed in partnership with Google Cloud and Megazone.

According to the Korean carmaker, the Kia Owner’s Manual app is a customer-friendly mobile app that explains the name and functions of features found inside Kia models, by using the smartphone camera. Instead of having to refer to the printed owner’s manual, drivers can use the app to more easily find information about individual features. The easy-to-use app also has the advantage of being able to explain functions simply and conveniently.

Kia has offered augmented reality (AR) mobile apps to customers in certain markets since 2017. However, wide use of the app was limited as it required measuring all layouts and switches for every new model. Kia, Google and Megazone focused on recognising symbols on the switches making the app compatible with any new models as symbols in vehicles are universal. Partnering with Google Cloud and Megazone means the new Kia Owner’s Manual app can be more easily tailored and adapted for dozens of Kia’s global markets.

AI-enhanced symbol recognition

By applying Google Cloud’s unique AI platform-based image learning technology, the app’s Symbol Scanner function allows accurate identification of in-car switch symbols from any angle.

For example, if a user scans the ‘cruise control’ symbol on the steering wheel with a smartphone, the AI platform will recognise the image via server communication. The smartphone then instantly displays a video introducing the detailed functions of the cruise control system.

In addition, the Kia Owner’s Manual app serves as a digital owner’s manual with a search function. It also provides a Symbol Index and Warning Indicator Index, providing an illustrated list of in-car symbols and instrument cluster warning lights and their definitions.

Launch in the second-half of 2020

Kia Motors will roll out the Kia Owner’s Manual app sequentially in the second-half of 2020, starting with new cars scheduled to be released worldwide.

“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 and service, 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.”

“We are pleased to collaborate with Kia on this innovative application of the AI platform, which is already used in the manufacturing industry to help automate the visual quality control process. 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 recently won the grand prize in the Intelligent Application category at the 2020 Spring Conference of the Korea Intelligent Information System Society, in recognition of its innovation. Kia Motors plans to develop further convenience services, incorporating innovative smart technologies, through its collaborative experience with Google Cloud.

For India, Kia is currently preparing to launch its much awaited Sonet compact SUV in the coming months. The new compact SUV is set to become Kia’s third model for the Indian market and was previously revealed to the public in concept form at the Auto Expo earlier this year.

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