How today’s M2M technology is bringing KITT to life

Last updated: 26 January 2023

The humble car is currently undergoing something of a revolution. Cars are getting smarter, through on-board technology and remote connectivity, and pretty soon they’re expected to drive themselves to wherever you need to go. It’s pretty exciting stuff – but for fans of classic TV from the 1980s and David Hasselhoff it’s nothing new. The four-wheeled star of Knight Rider, a custom Pontiac Trans Am called KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) demonstrated many capabilities that are only being realised in the real-world now, a good thirty years later. Inspired by a recent BBC feature, we thought it would be interesting inspiration for our #IoTMaker competitors to think about a few ways in which today’s M2M technology making the Knight Rider dream a reality. To get us in the mood…

Smart Telematics

Back in the 80s, KITT had an impressive reaction time of a nanosecond, enabled by his “1,000 megabit” memory capacity. Today’s smart cars might not yet be able to take autonomous decisions, but they are certainly very intelligent, thanks to on-board SIM cards which allow driving data to be relayed back to the car manufacturer. This data can be used to provide real-time feedback to the driver, or analysed collectively by the manufacturer to help improve future models.

Voice Recognition

KITT was able to hold detailed, intelligent conversations with his driver. We’re not quite at that stage, but today’s connected cars can understand voice commands and help drivers to keep their focus on the road, rather than on their radio, phone, map or anything else. The technology that helps cars understand drivers’ spoken commands again uses 4G connectivity to send voice transmissions back to cloud computing systems like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, which processes the speech, figures out an appropriate response and reverts accordingly.

Anti-sleep Measures

Whilst I’m sure there is a connected car that could shout “Michael, wake-up!” at you if you start to nod off, audio alerts in modern safety systems have gone a slightly different way. Cameras embedded into the car can monitor the driver’s attention levels by tracking eye movements and where the driver is looking. If the camera detects that the driver’s eyes have strayed from the road, or closed entirely, it can then trigger an audio alert to wake them up. I would quite like to retrofit some

Emergency Response

Hopefully this is one element of connected car technology you won’t have to experience first-hand. In the event of an accident, sensors in the car can detect the size, direction and impact of a collision. The car can determine the severity of the crash and if necessary automatically alert the emergency services, providing your location, speeding up response times and potentially saving lives. The EU’s eCall initiative is a great example.


These areas are really just the start – there are many more M2M applications emerging in new cars all the time. And to achieve the ultimate dream of driverless cars, a whole range of connected vehicles, roads, buildings and other infrastructure will be required. So perhaps Knight Rider wasn’t so far-fetched after all. Now we just need that Turbo Boost…

If you’ve got a great IoT idea for the automotive world or anything else, enter the IoTMaker challenge by tweeting @gemalto with the hashtag #IoTMaker, emailing us at or leaving a comment on any of our IoTMaker blogs.  You could win a Cinterion concept board, an iPhone 6 and even the chance to see your concept become a reality, showcased at Mobile World Congress 2015.

For more on Gemalto’s work with connected cars, check out this video hosted by Andreas Haegele, Vice President of our M2M Portfolio.


Update: The entry window for the IoT Maker challenge has now closed, stay tuned to the blog for more information.

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