KITT is the acronymic descriptor for the fictional adventure series Knight Rider character. KITT is an artificial intelligence microprocessor installed in a highly advanced, very mobile, robot disguised as a 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.
The original full name stood for Knight Industries Two Thousand, whereas the updated 2008 movie and subsequent series refers to the successive AI unit designated as the Knight Industries Three Thousand.
In the television show's history, KITT was said to have been designed by the late Wilton Knight, a brilliant but eccentric billionaire and founder of the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG), and its parent Knight Industries.
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 in 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 to the Foundation's interests. KARR was later deactivated and placed in storage while KITT was given to his new operator, Michael Knight (the new identity of Michael Long).
KITT is loaded with special features such as the commonly-used Turbo Boost, which allows quick bursts of speed or jumping 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 although a strong direct hit by those attacks could cause severe damage.
KITT underwent a major modification during a refit in 1985 which included the addition of "Super Pursuit Mode" and a convertible top.
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. He always had an ego that was easy to bruise and displayed a very sensitive personality. 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. According to Episode 55, "Dead of Knight", KITT's reaction time is one nanosecond, and his "memory" capacity is 1,000 megabits. According to Episode 65, "Ten Wheel Trouble", KITT's future capacity is unlimited.
- Alpha Circuit - KITT's "Alpha Circuit" is mentioned quite a bit throughout the series. It is part of KITT's main control system which allows the CPU to drive the car. The time he spent submerged in water damaged his Alpha Circuit, which required KARR to have an operator to control his Turbo Boost function.
- 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. 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 each 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 lb (111.5 tons) and a front and rear axle suspension load of 57,000 lb (28.5 tons).
- Pyroclastic Lamination - KITT is protected by a thermal-resistant coating that can withstand sustained temperatures of up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit. 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 0–60 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 in most episodes, a series of rear mounted undercarriage rocket motors allows KITT to accelerate to incredible speeds in excess of 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. KITT's primary spoken language was English, however by accessing his language module, he could speak fluently in Spanish and French. The module can be adjusted giving KITT different accents such as in Episode 82, "Out of the Woods", where KITT uses a "New York City" accent and called Michael, "Micky". During the first season, KITT's "mouth" ("Voice Modulator") in the interior of the vehicle was a flashing red square. In episode 14 "Heart of Stone", this was changed to three sectioned vertical bars, as this design proved popular with fans as part of KARR.
- Anamorphic Equalizer - KITT's most apparent feature was his front scan bar called the Anamorphic Equalizer. The device is a fiber-optic array of electronic eyes. The scanner could see in all visual wavelengths as well as X-Ray and infrared. Occasionally, the bar could pulse in different patterns and sweep rapidly or very slowly. The scan bar is also KITT's most vulnerable area.
- Etymotic Equalizer - This system allowed KITT to hear sound. An array of audio sensors were 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 has control of the car. In an emergency, KITT could still take over and activate Auto Cruise mode.
- 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.
- 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. Most often the hook is connected by a strong cable, but a metal arm has also been seen. The grappling hook is first used in Episode 6, "Not a Drop to Drink"; the winch is first used in Episode 13, "Forget Me Not".
- Oil Jets/Smoke Screen - KITT could spray an oil slick and a plume of smoke from under the rear bumper. First used in Episode 1, "Knight of the Phoenix".
- Flame Thrower - KITT has flame throwers mounted under his bumpers. First used in Episode 2, "Deadly Maneuvers".
- Tear Gas Launcher - KITT can dispense a cloud of tear gas along with his smoke screen. First used in Episode 13, "Hearts of Stone".
- 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 and others using 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, fouling security cameras, and withdrawing money from ATMs.
- Surveillance Mode - Surveillance Mode did several things:
- KITT could detect people and vehicles and track their movements and discern proximity.
- KITT could gather structural schematics of buildings, vehicles, or other devices and help Michael avoid potential danger when he was snooping.
- KITT could also monitor radio transmissions and telephone communications within a location and trace those calls.
- KITT 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.
- 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".
- Medical scanner - KITT has a medical scanner that includes an electrocardiograph (ECG). The medical scanner can monitor the vital signs of individuals and display them 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 1, "Knight of the Phoenix (Pt. 2)".
- Deflatable Tires - KITT could deflate and reinflate his tires. First used in Episode 4, "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 65 miles per gallon. However, when operating on fuels other than liquid hydrogen, KITT's fuel efficiency and power output may be lowered.
- Voice Stress Analyzer - KITT can process spoken voices and determine if someone may be lying. First used in Episode 26, "Merchants of Death".
- Seat Ejection System - KITT had two front ejection seats, mostly used when Michael needed a boost to fire escapes or building roof tops. First used in Episode 1, "Knight of the Phoenix (Pt. 1)".
- 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 an inertial damping device. First used in Episode 47, "Knight of the Drones".
- 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 only had one when his dash was redesigned for the show's third season.
- Computer Print Out - KITT could print hard copies of data on a dashboard-mounted printer. First used in Episode 15, "The Topaz Connection".
- 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 fingerprints 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's exterior sensors. First used in Episode 17, "Chariot of Gold".
- 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. First used in Episode 4, "Slammin' Sammy's Stunt Show Spectacular".
- Two-Wheel Ski Drive - The Ski Mode setting allowed KITT to "ski" (driving up on two wheels). First used in Episode 1, "Knight of the Phoenix".
- Third Stage Aquatic Synthesizer - With this system, KITT can hydroplane, effectively "driving" on water, using his wheels and turbo system for propulsion. First used in Episode 28, "Return to Cadiz".
- Super-Pursuit Mode - KITT's Super-Pursuit mode was added at the start of the fourth season. It was the result of a redesign of the car to integrate new concepts consisting of improved rocket boosters for enhanced acceleration, retractable spoilers for aerodynamic stability, and movable air inlets for increased cooling. Super-Pursuit Mode provided a 40% boost in speed beyond the car's original top speed of 300 MPH. First used in Episode 70, "Knight of the Juggernaut".
- 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. First used in Episode 70, "Knight of the Juggernaut".
- 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. First used in Episode #70, "Knight of the Juggernaut".
An unknown number of these systems were designed at Stanford University (Episode 5, "Just My Bill"). KITT's total production cost was estimated at $11,400,000 in 1982. The cost of subsequent equipment improvements and the installation of additional features since his activation have not been factored.
- Comlink - KITT is in constant contact with Michael via a two-way communication wristwatch (a modified '80s LCD AM radio watch) Michael wore. The watch also had a micro camera and scanner that KITT could access to gather information.
- Homing Device - In dire emergency, Michael can activate a secret homing beacon hidden inside a gold pendant he wears around his neck. The beacon sends a priority signal that can remotely activate KITT and override his programming so that he rushes to Michael's aid. Only used in Episode 42, "A Good Knight's Work".
- F.L.A.G. Mobile Unit (The Semi) - KITT has access to a mobile "garage", sometimes referred to as "The Rook", which was a semi-trailer truck owned by the Foundation. The trailer has an extendible ramp that dropped down and allows KITT to drive inside even when the truck is in motion. The trailer was loaded with spare parts and equipment for KITT. It also had a computer lab where technicians Bonnie or April would work and conduct repairs and maintenance.
Other versions of KITT
KIFT (Knight 4000)
The second version of KITT, known as the "Knight 4000", appeared similarly to that of a Pontiac Banshee prototype in the movie Knight Rider 2000. The vehicle had numerous 21st Century technological improvements over the previous 1980s version of KITT, such as an advanced amphibious mode (which allows the car to ride on water like a speedboat), a virtual heads-up display (or V-HUD, which utilized the entire windshield as a video display), and a microwave stun device that could remotely incapacitate a human target and bring them down (similar in application to a taser).
Team Knight Rider
In the series Team Knight Rider
KITT is seen as the shadow, an advisor. Later on it is revealed that "The Shadow" is actually a hologram run by KITT.
KITT (Knight Industries Three-Thousand)
The 2008 update to Knight Rider includes a new KITT – the acronym now standing for "Knight Industries Three Thousand". The KITT platform is patterned on a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR and differs from the original Two Thousand unit in several ways. For example, the 2008 KITT utilizes nano-technology, allowing the car's outer shell to change colors and morph itself into similar car forms temporarily. The nanotech platform is written as needing the AI active in order to do any of these effects, unlike the original car's gadgets and "molecular bonded shell" which allowed it to endure extreme impacts. These nano-tech detriments are shown as when the bulletproof ability of the car windows is lost and the villains are able to shoot through to the driver when the AI is deactivated. It also can turn into a truck, which is a Ford F150.
While the original series stated that the original KITT was designed by Wilton Knight, the 2008 TV movie says that Charles Graiman designed the car and the AI for Wilton Knight, and was subsequently relocated to protect him and his family.
Also, some have noticed the car model name (GT-500 KR) bears the initials of the series, though this is merely a coincidence as the initials actually stand for "King of the Road." The 2008 model is a 40th Anniversary tribute to the original Shelby Cobra GT-500 KR, produced in 1968.
- When asked about KITT's whereabouts, David Hasselhoff indicates that, like Roy Rogers did to Trigger, KITT is now stuffed and mounted in Hasselhoff's living room. Actually, one of the cars used became Hasselhoff's personal property at the end of production and was sold into a private collection in 1992. It can now be seen at the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in Keswick, Cumbria, England.
- KITT was designed by customizer Michael Scheffe. The convertible and super-pursuit KITTs were designed and built by George Barris.
- Hasselhoff and "KITT" appeared in an episode of Diff'rent Strokes, but Daniels did not provide the voice.
- KITT accompanied Hasselhoff when he performed onstage, singing one of his songs at Disneyland back in 1985, with various Disney characters behind him as his band.
- KITT appeared in a AT&T television commercial with other robotic entertainment stars as Robby the Robot, WOPR, and Rosie the Robot Maid.
- KITT's scanner is similar to that of Cylons from the science fiction series Battlestar Galactica. Glen A. Larson, the creator of both Knight Rider and Battlestar Galactica has stated that the two shows have nothing else in common and to remove any fan speculation, he stated in the Season One Knight Rider DVD audio-comments, that he simply reused the scanning light for KITT because he liked the effect. In an episode of the original incarnation of Battlestar Galactica, the character Starbuck pilots a new type of Viper that has an A.I. installed into it named CORA, which was able to pilot the craft and verbally interact with a human pilot (similar to KITT).
- KITT appeared on stage and sang a duet with Nick Lachey during the one hour special, The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour.
- KITT was reunited with Hasselhoff in a season 1 episode of the variety show/talent show America's Got Talent, on which Hasselhoff was a judge. Burlesque dancer Michelle L'amour brought a replica of KITT onto center stage while strip-dancing to a remix of the Knight Rider theme. The following evening, Hasselhoff incorporated the KITT replica into his musical performance of "Jump in My Car" on stage.
- David Hasselhoff drives the only right hand drive KITT replica built in his music video "Jump in My Car" since the video was shot in Sydney, Australia, with the car coming from Victoria, Australia.
- According to an appearance on MTV Cribs, Joey Fatone owns one of the actual KITT cars used on the series.
- In the Futurama episode "The Honking", the werecar Project Satan is said to be made of the parts of the most evil cars in the world, including KITT's windshield wipers.
- In the Simpsons episode "Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Anymore", KITT is featured in an exhibit at the Museum of Television and TV titled "Things that shouldn't talk... but do".
- Also in the Simpsons, KITT was animated in the episode "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace".
- In Team Knight Rider, K.I.T.T. was revealed as an orb and the main generator of TKR’s advisor known only as “The Shadow”.
- On April 4, 2007, one of the four KITT cars used in production of the television series was put up for sale for $149,995 by Johnny Verhoek of Kassabian Motors, Dublin, California.
- David Hasselhoff appeared in an episode of the claymation series Celebrity Deathmatch, fighting on a Baywatch style ring. After David was heavily injured by John Tesh, KITT jumped on Tesh, crushing him. KITT's body was a dune buggy.
- In the 2006 film The Benchwarmers, Jon Lovitz's character owned and drove KITT, attempting a peel out in a Pizza Hut parking lot.
- In the video Bloom 06's new single, Un'altra Come Te, KITT is prominently featured.
- Both KITT and Michael were featured in 'Robot Chicken'. When Michael goes to a fancy resturant with a date, he lets the vallet park KITT, who instead takes him for a joy ride and seriously damages him.