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Knight Rider Car

KITT is the name of the high-tech black Pontiac Trans Am automobile in the television series Knight Rider starring David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight. KITT is an acronym for Knight Industries Two Thousand. more...

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History

KITT was designed by the late Wilton Knight, a brilliant but eccentric computer engineer and founder of the "Foundation for Law and Government" (FLAG). The rest of the vehicle was designed and built in secrecy by Wilton's firm, Knight Industries, to aid in Foundation's pursuits at fighting crime.

KITT's main cybernetic processor was first installed in a mainframe computer used by the United States government in Washington D.C., however, Wilton saw better use for him in the Foundation's crime fighting crusade and eventually the system was installed into the vehicle. KITT was in fact the second vehicle built by Knight Industries with artificial intelligence. His predecessor was KARR, (the Knight Automated Roving Robot). KARR was programmed for self-preservation, but this proved to be dangerous for the Foundation's interests. KARR was later deactivated and placed in storage while KITT was given to his new operator, Michael Knight.

Unlike KARR, KITT is programmed to primarily protect Michael at all cost as well as all human life. This is made clear in the pilot episode where Michael asks Devon Miles if KITT will protect anyone driving it. Devon's answer is that KITT's primary function is the preservation of human life, and Michael's in particular.

KITT is loaded with special features such as the commonly used Turbo Boost, which allow quick bursts of speed or jumping KITT over obstacles. KITT could also drive himself, but perhaps his most distinct and recognizable aspect was his front mounted scan bar which, among other things, allowed KITT to "see". KITT's body panels were coated with an advanced "molecular bonded shell" armor coating which would resist conventional weapon fire as well as most artillery and explosive blasts.

KITT underwent a major modification during a refit in 1985 included the addition of "Super Pursuit Mode" and a convertible top.

Sometime in the 1990s, KITT was decommissioned and Michael went into retirement from crime fighting. KITT's body was scrapped, and various parts of his computer systems used for other projects. In 2000, part of KITT's memory was implanted into Seattle law enforcement officer Shawn McCormick as a form of brain surgery treatment.

Also in 2000, Michael Knight collected what was left of KITT, whose AI module was partially intact. Michael installed the AI briefly into his 1957 Chevrolet, and then transferred the AI into the new Knight Industries Four Thousand vehicle upon the destruction of the vintage Chevy.

List of KITT's features

KITT had many features, most of which had an activation button associated with them that were on panels mounted on either side of the steering wheel or on a console mounted on the ceiling of the interior. Many of these button functions seem to change around, appearing and disappearing, or rearranging from episode to episode. Some were used once and never seen again.

Some of KITT's features include the following:

  • Computer AI - KITT was essentially an advanced supercomputer on wheels. The "brain" of KITT was the Knight 2000 Microprocessor which is the center of a "self-aware" cybernetic logic module that allowed KITT to think, learn, communicate and interact with humans. Although KITT wasn't programmed to have feelings, he always had an ego that was easy to bruise and displayed a very sensitive personality. The system was programmed to drive the car better than a human operator could. He also has an in-dash entertainment system that can play music and video, and run various computer programs including arcade games which Michael sometimes indulged in whenever KITT was driving. The belief that KITT was truly sentient was never discussed in the show, however KITT was fully aware of himself and programmed to obey all orders given to him by his human creators, so long as they didn't violate his prime directive of protecting human life (especially Michael's) to the best of his abilities. KITT has, however been referred to as being "alive" in at least one episode.
  • Molecular Bonded Shell - KITT is armored with "Tri-Helical Plasteel 1000 MBS" (Molecular Bonded Shell) plating which protects him from almost all forms of conventional firearms and explosive devices. He could only be harmed by heavy artillery and rockets, and even then, the blast usually left most of his shell intact and only damaged internal components. The shell protected every part of the car including the tires. KITT could even act as a shield for explosives by driving over bombs and suppressing the blast. The shell also protected him from fire and electricity, however it was vulnerable to some potent acids and at least one formula was made to completely neutralize the shell. It is also shown that long exposure to seawater can weaken the shell as in the case of KARR. The shell is actually a combination of three secret substances referred together as the "Knight Compound", developed by Wilton Knight who entrusted parts of the formula to three separate people. These individuals only know two pieces of the formula, ensuring that any two of them could make more of the Knight Compound in an emergency situation and that no one person would be able to make it. The shell provided a frame tolerance of 223,000 lbs and a front and rear axle suspension load of 57,000 lbs.
  • Pyroclastic Lamination - KITT is protected by a thermal-resistant coating that can withstand sustained temperatures of up to 800 degrees. First used in episode #32 Ring of Fire.
  • Power System - KITT is powered by the Knight Industries Turbojet with modified afterburners and a computer controlled 8-speed turbodrive transmission. Specifications 0 to 60 MPH in 2 seconds, Standing to quarter mile 4.286 seconds. Electromagnetic hyper-vacuum disc brakes: 14 foot braking distance (70 - 0 MPH).
  • Turbo Boost - Used at least once in every episode, a series of rear mounted undercarrage rocket motors allows KITT to accelerate to incredible speeds of up to 200 MPH. When activated in combination with the Trajectory Guidance System and a pair of rocket motors mounted just behind the front tires that lifted the front of the car, KITT could jump 40 feet into the air and pass over obstacles in the road. The system also allowed KITT added power whenever he had to maneuver heavy objects such as pushing a heavy boulder off a cliff, or pulling a large vehicle out of danger. The boosters could fire forward or backward.
  • Voice Synthesizer - KITT's Voice Synthesizer allowed his logic module to speak and communicate. With it, KITT could also simulate other sounds, such as a police raid to fool criminals or a wild animal's growl, useful for scaring away a too-friendly gator or dogs intending to pee on his tires. KITT's primary spoken language was English, however by accessing his language module, he could speak fluently in Spanish and French.
  • Anamorphic Equalizer - KITT's most apparent feature was his front scan bar called the Anamorphic Equalizer. The device is a fiber-optic array electronic eyes. The scanner could see in all visual wavelengths as well as X-Ray and infrared. When KITT's surveillance mode was active, the bar would light up and make a ominous swooping sound as it panned left and right. Occasionally, the bar could pulse in different patterns and sweep rapidly or very slowly. The scan bar is also KITT's most vulnerable area. In an attempt to stop KARR, Bonnie rigged a laser that could penetrate KARR's sensor and disable his electronics.
  • Etymotic Equalizer - This system allowed KITT to hear sound. An array of audio sensors was threaded throughout his interior and exterior.
  • Olfactory Sensor - KITT could "smell" via an atmospheric sampling device mounted in his front bumper.
  • Microscanners - Microscanners are tiny audio and visual sensors embedded into the grooves of KITT's body. They allow for visual tracking and display of anything around the car.
  • Cruise Modes - These are KITT's three drive modes:
    • Normal Cruise - On "Normal", Michael had control of the car. In an emergency, KITT could still take over and activate Auto Cruise mode. In order to prevent this, one has to use the Manual Override.
    • Auto Cruise - In "Auto", KITT could drive himself utilizing an advanced Auto Collision Avoidance system.
    • Pursuit - "Pursuit" is used during high-speed driving and is a combination of manual and computer assisted operation. KITT could respond to road conditions faster than Michael's reflexes could however Michael was technically in control of the vehicle and KITT helped guide certain maneuvers.
  • Computer Override - KITT has a hidden switch and setting dial under the dash that either completely shuts down his AI module or deactivates certain systems should the need arise. First used in episode #18 "Chariot of Gold".
  • Manual Override - KITT has a function which can be activated in order to completely lock the AI from all the vehicle controls. Unlike the Computer Override, Manual Override simply keeps KITT from activating Auto Cruse or preventing anyone inside the car from doing something that would probably hurt them. KITT's AI is still able to protest such actions vocally. First used in episode #9 "Trust Doesn't Rust".
  • Police Lights/Siren - KITT's headlights can flash red and blue as police lights, and he has a siren. First used in episode #38 "Race for Life".
  • Silent Mode - KITT could run silently. The feature dampened his engine noise and allow him to sneak around. First used in episode #37 "White-Line Warriors".
  • Grappling Hook and Winch - KITT has a hidden winch and grappling hook system, one mounted under his front bumper, and another in a compartment behind his tail light plate.
  • Parachute - KITT is equipped with a parachute. First used in episode #23 "Goliath Returns (Pt. 1)".
  • Oil Jets/Smoke Screen - KITT could spray an oil slick and a plume of smoke from under the rear bumper. First used in episode #2 "Knight of the Phoenix (Part 2)".
  • Flame Thrower - KITT has flame throwers mounted under his bumpers. First used in episode #3 "Deadly Maneuvers".
  • Tear Gas Launcher - KITT can dispense a cloud of tear gas along with his smoke screen.
  • Ultramagnesium Charges - KITT can launch magnesium flares, which can also be used to divert heat-seeking missiles fired at him. First used in episode #26 "Merchants of Death".
  • High Traction Drop Downs - When activated the HTDD system hydraulically raises KITT's chassis for better traction when driving off-road. First used in episode #39 "Speed Demons".
  • Telephone Comlink - Michael could contact home base and communicate with Devon over KITT's video display.
  • Microwave Jammer - KITT has an electronic jamming system that played havoc on electrical systems. The three main components are the Electromagnetic Field Generator, Electronic Field Disrupter and Microwave Ignition Sensor. The system could take control of electronic machines, allowing things like cheating at slot machines, breaking electronic locks, fowling security cameras, and withdrawing money from ATMs. The most common usage was to knock out the electronics systems of a fleeing vehicle where he could disable the engine and activate the brakes. In some episodes, KITT is even capable of using it to magnetize and manipulate non-electronic objects such as a mechanical combination lock and create "poltergeist" activity, moving random objects to frighten people.
  • Surveillance Mode - Surveillance Mode did several things; KITT could detect people and vehicles and track their movements and discern proximity. He could gather structural schematics of buildings, vehicles, or other devices and help Michael avoid potential danger when he was snooping around. KITT could also use it to monitor radio transmissions and telephone communications within a location and trace those calls. He could tap into computer systems to monitor, or upload and download information as long as he could break the access codes.
  • Infrared Tracking Scope - KITT could monitor the position of specific vehicles in the area within 10 miles. For instance, if Michael wanted to know the location of every police vehicle within 5 miles, KITT could display a schematic on his monitors of all police vehicles relative to his position.
  • Laser Powerpack - KITT can fire a high powered ultra-frequency modulated laser capable of burning through steel plating. Like most of KITT's components, the schematics for the laser device are classified. First used in episode #24 "Goliath (Pt.2)".
  • Bomb Sniffer - KITT is equipped with a bomb sniffer module that can detect explosives within a few yards of the vehicle. First used in episode #25 "Brother's Keeper".
  • EKG - KITT has a electrocardiographic medical scanner that could monitor and display the vital signs of individuals on his monitors. It could indicate such conditions as if they were injured, poisoned, undergoing stress or other emotional behavior. KITT could even monitor Michael's physical activity through sensors inside the driver seat. First used in episode #18 "Chariot of Gold".
  • Deflatable Tires - KITT could deflate and reinflate his tires. First used in episode #5 "Slammin' Sammy's Stunt Show Spectacular".
  • Fuel Processor - KITT was powered by a turbine engine primarily fueled by hydrogen gas, however, his complex fuel processor allows him to run on any combustible liquid, even regular gasoline. KITT's actual fuel requirements and efficiency ratings were classified, however in one episode, KITT mentioned his fuel economy was at least 100 miles per gallon.
  • Self-Tinting Windows - KITT's windows could darken to opacity for various situations. First used in episode #15 "Give Me Liberty... or Give Me Death".
  • Voice Stress Analyser - KITT can process spoken voices and determine if someone may be lying.
  • Auto Doors, Sunroof, and Trunklid - KITT could automatically open and close his doors. He could also lock his doors to prevent unauthorized entry into his driver compartment. He could also open his hood automatically.
  • Rotating License Plate - KITT can rotate his KNIGHT licence plate to reveal a fictitious one reading "KNI 667". Michael used this to evade police when an APB was placed on him. First used in episode #25 "Brother's Keeper".
  • Seat Ejection System - KITT had two front ejection seats, mostly used when Michael needed a boost to fire escapes or building roof tops.
  • Passive Laser Restraint System - Added to KITT in later seasons, the restraint system helped protect Michael and any passengers from the shock of sudden impacts and hard stopping, especially after Super-Pursuit Mode. It is speculated that this is a primitive form of inertial dampening device.
  • Video Display Monitors - KITT had two CRT video display monitors on his dash for various readouts. They are controlled by two systems, the Graphic Translator (which sketches likenesses from verbal input) and the Anamorphic Equalizer (which gathered visual information from KITT's front scan bar) and microscanners. KITT had only had one when his dash was redesigned for third season.
  • Computer Print Out - KITT could print hard copies of data on a dashboard mounted printer.
  • Ultraphonic Chemical Analyzer - KITT has a retractable tray with an electron scanner that could analyze the chemical properties of various materials. It could even scan finger prints and read ballistic information off bullets and compare these with a police database. Aside from the scanning tray, the system could also analyze chemical information gathered from KITT exterior sensors. First used in episode #18 "Chariot of Gold".
  • Fire Extinguisher - KITT could put out small fires from a CO2 sprayer in his bumpers.
  • Interior Oxygenator - KITT could release oxygen into his driver compartment and provide air to passengers if he was ever submerged in water or buried in earth. This is also used to overcome the effects of certain drugs.
  • Two-Wheel Ski Drive - The Ski Mode setting allowed KITT to "ski" (driving up on two wheels).
  • Aquatic Synthesizer - With this system, KITT can hydroplane and drive on water, using his wheels and turbo system for propulsion. First used in episode #28 "Return to Cadiz".
  • Sub Zero - KITT could release cryogenic gases and "flash freeze" the driver compartment. This was used once when a baby tiger managed to get inside to gnaw oh his steering wheel and KITT wanted him out.
  • Sleep Gas - KITT could spray a gas into the driver compartment that could knock an unwanted occupant out cold.
  • Vacuum - KITT could expend all breathable air from the driver compartment, however, only KARR ever used it to harm someone. KITT used this to rid the compartment of smoke after bombs were disposed of is his trunk.
  • Super-Pursuit Mode - KITT's Super-Pursuit mode was added fourth season. The system was a redesign of his rocket motors that allowed him incredible speeds of up to 300 mph (500 km/h). Fins extended from his body for better aerodynamics.
  • Emergency Braking System - The EBS slowed KITT down from Super-Pursuit speeds. It consisted of a forward breaking booster and air panels that popped out to create air friction.
  • Convertible Roof - Added fourth season, by pressing the "C" button on KITT's dash, Michael could bring the top down and KITT became a convertible.

  • Total production cost: $11,400,000 estimated in 1982. (This was KITT's total construction cost as he was first built in 1982. The cost of subsequent equipment improvements and the installation of additional features since his activation have not been factored.)

Read more at Wikipedia.org


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