KITT was designed by customizer Michael Scheffe. The convertible and super-pursuit KITTs were designed and built by George Barris.
KITT (an acronym for Knight Industries Two Thousand) is the name of a fictional computer that controls the high-tech Knight 2000, a black Pontiac Trans Am T-top automobile in the science fiction television series Knight Rider. The voice for KITT was provided by St. Elsewhere and 1776 star William Daniels, who requested that he not be credited for his work.
In the television show's fictional 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, (commonly shortened to "FLAG"), and its parent the Knight Foundation.
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).
Unlike KARR, KITT is programmed primarily to protect Michael at all cost as well as all human life (referring to Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics). 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.
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