- Microsoft RoboChamps is a global IT competition to advance development of intelligent, autonomous driving technology
- Innovative advertising mechanic to reach more than 10 million IT professionals worldwide
- Five Kia models, new U.S. headquarters, dealer shops, outdoor advertisements and videos to promote Kia through an online virtual world
(SEOUL) October 13, 2008 - Kia Motors Corporation, a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart and a leader in automotive information technology convergence, announced today that it is a global sponsor of RoboChamps 2008, Microsoft's virtual-world robotics competition.
The sponsorship is designed to encourage the nurturing of professionals specializing in intelligent, autonomous automotive technology as well as further research and interest in auto-IT convergence. Kia also hopes to reach new audiences through the innovative promotion of its brand and a range of new Kia vehicles embedded throughout the simulation.
Kia Motors is providing 3D rendered models of five of its vehicles - the all-new and recently launched Soul, Borrego (also known as 'Mohave') SUV, pro-cee'd, refreshed Magentis ('Optima') and all-new Cerato ('Spectra'). Event participants will use the simulated Kia cars to complete the RoboChamps Urban challenge, programming and autonomously operating a vehicle in a simulated city environment with accuracy and priority. Backdrops integrated into the simulated city will also include the new Kia Motors America headquarters, Kia Motors dealer shops, outdoor Kia advertisements and a Kia Motors' promotional video.
Hyoung-Keun Lee, Senior Executive Vice President and COO, International Business Division of Kia Motors Corporation, said, "We are building on our strategic alliance with Microsoft and want to continue as a leader of next-generation automotive technology, enabling development of auto-IT convergence in Korea and around the world. By integrating our products and advertising into the simulation environment, our brand is connecting with an audience of potentially 10 million IT professionals in a new and exciting way."
This announcement follows the strategic alliance agreement signed between Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group and Microsoft in May to co-develop in-vehicle IT and infotainment systems, and to work together toward establishing the Automotive IT Innovation Center in Korea.
Microsoft is encouraging IT academics, hobbyists and developers to take part in the challenges of RoboChamps. Using Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio (MSRDS) 2008 CTP (Community Technical Preview), participants are provided with immersive 3-D environments, simulated versions of robots, and compelling scenario-specific challenges. Environments range from a maze to the surface of the planet Mars to downtown driving, to robot rescue, and to soccer.
The Urban challenge kicked off at 12:01 AM PT (Pacific Time) on October 9, 2008 and ends at 11:59 PM PT on November 30, 2008. Top prizes include a US15,000 cash prize or, for the domestic Korean competition, an all-new Kia Soul vehicle. More information can be found at www.robochamps.com.
Kia Motors Corporation (www.kia.com) -- a maker of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart -- was founded in 1944 and is Korea's oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia aims to become one of the world's premier automotive brands. More than 1.4 million vehicles a year are produced in 14 manufacturing and assembly operations in eight countries which are then sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 165 countries. Kia today has over 40,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of almost US$17 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and an official worldwide sponsor of the Davis Cup. Kia is an official automotive partner of FIFA -- the governing body of the FIFA World Cup -- as well as a EUROTOP partner of UEFA. Kia Motors Corporation's brand slogan -- "The Power to Surprise" -- represents the company's global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation.