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Knight Rider Supercar

Kitt from the classic TV show Knight Rider is arguably not a robot but a computer. However given that the computer is permanently housed in a car I would argue that it is indeed a robot.

KITT stands for Knight Industries Two Thousand. Although it technically referred to the computer the name is usually asociated with the car driven by Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff). Kitt was designed by Wilton Knight, founder of FLAG ("Foundation for Law And Government" - a name which today sounds more authoritarian than heroic!). Initially used for a government mainframe it was then moved for use in a FLAG vehicle.

What Is Kitt?

Kitt is a highly intelligent AI which communicates with the driver and appears to possess a personality. Its voice synthesiser (voiced by actor William Daniels) certainly seems to convey emotion. Whether or not it is sentient and self-aware is unclear.

As well as the intelligence of the AI, the Kitt car (geddit?) possesses a number of other special abilities. These are never clearly specified but sometimes change with the requirements of the plot. Probably the most important are its turbo boost, molecular bonded shell (armour), and alpha circuit (self-drive).

Kitt is programmed with at least the first of Asimov's 3 Laws - his primary motivation is to protect human life. However he deviates from Asimov's laws in other respects. For instance, he will (usually) obey instructions from Michael but not necessarily other humans.

In the original show, the Kitt 2000 car was a gorgeous, shiny black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. In 1991 an attempt was made to relauncch the show with the Knight 4000 car, a red Pontiac Banshee concept.

A new movie and TV show are currently planned for 2008 and beyond.

Even though Kitt is strictly speaking "just" a microchip with a voice, the car itself has become an icon of 1980s cult TV. There's plenty of stuff for sale for the fan: you can buy various toys, replica models and posters of the Knight 2000 supercar. For the really dedicated fan of the show you can also buy David Hasselhoff merchandise. You can even have him smiling at you from your PC wallpaper...

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