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CarPlay Origins

4 Car Features predicted By Knight Rider’s K.I.T.T., executed by Apple CarPlay

The future is now for Generation X and Millennials. The previous grew up watching George and Judy Jetson talk to each other on video phones, imagining how crazy and impossible that is. Millennials watched the Simpsons predict everything from Donald Trump’s presidency, Disney purchasing 20th Century Fox, and even the Apple Watch.

Granted the Simpsons is the longest-running sitcom in U.S. history. Thus both Gen X and Millennials are familiar with it. They are also both familiar with another iconic show due to reboots.

Knight Rider is another long-running entertainment franchise. Generation X grew up watching the original television series starring David Hasselhoff from 1982-1986. The series was rebooted with a 17-episode series that aired on NBC from September 2008 to March 2009. The commonalities in the shows were readily apparent. The reboot main character was Mike Knight, the estranged son of the original Michael Knight played by Hasselhoff. The other glaring commonality was of course the car.

K.I.T.T. was the original Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. The acronym stood for Knight Industries Two Thousand. The reboot also featured a K.I.T.T. – Knight Industries Three Thousand. The latter was a 2008-09 Ford Shelby GT500KR. Whether you’re a fan of the original, the reboot or neither, K.I.T.T. predicted many technological advances about cars. Apple CarPlay is one of the primary drivers (no pun intended) of those very accurate predictions.

The following are five features of K.I.T.T. (original) that ultimately came true in future cars with Apple CarPlay.

He (and she) talks

Michael Knight was shocked and a little annoyed when K.I.T.T. spoke to him for the first time.

He and K.I.T.T. argued for a minute since Knight was not expecting his car to talk to him. But they ultimately became friends and partners in solving various crimes. Siri isn’t nearly as interactive as K.I.T.T. But she can do many of the same things K.I.T.T. could do, including telling you how to get to Silicon Valley and playing your favorite music.

Autonomous driving

It’s been speculated among car and technology enthusiasts that Apple has been working on a fully-electric, self-driving car since 2014. The project may only be the autonomous technology and not the vehicle itself. The general public won’t know until the project is complete due to tight secrecy.

Apple did in fact filed a patent application entitled “Guidance of Autonomous Vehicles in Destination Vicinities Using Intent Signals” in August 2019. The abstract described how voice commands will direct self-driving vehicles. It unclear, however, if the technology would be used in an Apple car or added as a feature in Apple CarPlay. K.I.T.T. had several “cruise modes” including “Pursuit mode.” Knight and K.I.T.T. worked together with computer-assisted driving and manual controls.

K.I.T.T. was also equipped with an alpha circuit that allowed it to become fully autonomous.

Telephone Comlink

Knight utilized the video display in K.I.T.T. to communicate with his boss, Devon Miles. The iOS 14 updated for CarPlay enable drivers to send voice message, text messages, and their ETA to anyone on their contact list.

Artificial intelligence

K.I.T.T. was able to learn human behavior by remembering patterns. It also had a dashboard entertainment system featuring music, movies and video games. CarPlay is capable of predicting your destination based on driving habits and select the fastest route for you. Siri can also play your favorite music on-demand.

Flying cars were also predicted in the Jetson. We don’t have those quite yet. But that tuned.