Cars and wearable robots: Kia and Hyundai push innovation

By Allen Jack

Innovative South Korean car manufacturer Kia has achieved two major wins at the 2020 World Car Awards, which were announced on 8 April.

The company won in both the ‘World Car of the Year’ category for its Telluride and the ‘World Urban Car’ for its Soul EV (electric vehicle).

Commenting on the wins in a press release, Thomas Schemera, Exec VP, said, “Everyone at Kia is truly honoured to receive not just one, but two awards from the World Car of the Year judging panel.

"This is one of the hardest-fought competitions in the global automotive industry, proving that the Telluride and Soul EV are both truly outstanding vehicles. 

“These accolades are a testament to the talents and efforts of a worldwide team, who all strive to create desirable, high-quality and practical cars that drivers love."

Designed for excellence

The Telluride was praised by the award committee for its distinctive, customisable styling and impressive practicality, which includes AWD (all-wheel drive) and a 291bhp V6 engine. This honour adds to the 70 awards and titles already bestowed on the Telluride since last year. 

Meanwhile, the Soul EV was regarded as the perfect vehicular solution in an industry rapidly shifting towards fully-electric vehicles: bold, practical and affordable.

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Possessing a 280-mile range on a single full charge, the Soul EV features a 64 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and contemporary styling, making it the perfect car to drive in a city. 

Making the future a reality

Meanwhile, fellow South Korean manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group has been making waves with its Vest Exoskeleton (VEX), a wearable robot designed to supplement health and safety amongst industrial workers. 

The VEX won a ‘Product Design’ award at the 60th Red Dot Design Awards in recognition for its twin achievements in CSR (corporate social responsibility) and robotics. 

Worn like a backpack, the 2.8kg device can exert a maximum force of 5.5kgf. Apparently already popular with its target demographic, the VEX has reportedly reduced fatigue and boosted productivity amongst workers. 

“Under Hyundai’s brand vision of ‘Progress for Humanity’, our lab has been trying to pioneer robotics through converging various technologies,” said Dong Jin Hyun, Head of Robotics Lab at Hyundai in a press release

“With the success of and recognition on VEX, Hyundai will continue developing novel products that will provide people with better life quality.”

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