Knight Rider
Knight Rider Character
K.I.T.T. (3000)
Actor Val Kilmer
Character Knight Industries Three Thousand Micro Processor
Related Characters Charles Graiman
Knight 2000
K.A.R.R. (3000)
Partners Sarah Graiman
Mike Traceur

K.I.T.T. (an acronym for Knight Industries Three Thousand) is Mike Traceur's 2008 Ford Mustang GT500KR. A virtual Swiss Army knife-on-wheels, the car features a nanotech driven transformation system, a top speed of 377 mph and a suite of onboard defensive weapons systems. K.I.T.T. is also the name of the car’s self-aware artificial intelligence, who is not only the software counterpart to the Mustang’s hardware but also Mike’s partner in the field, and along with Sarah Graiman the closest thing Mike has to a true friend.



The Knight 3000 is an evolution of Dr. Charles Graiman's programming and software that he began developing back in the late 1970's/early 1980's for Wilton Knight and Knight Industries. Over the decades, Graiman advanced and refined the technology. The greatest leap in the advancement of the technology that would become K.I.T.T. came around the turn of the 21st century when the NSA had Graiman develop K.A.R.R. (the Knight Auto-Cybernetic Roving Robotic-Exoskeleton) based on the original A.I. he designed for Knight Industries and their first supercar. After the K.A.R.R. Program failed, the NSA told Graiman to try and build a new A.I. unit with the hope that it would correct the problems with K.A.R.R.

Graiman began to build a new A.I. with only the FBI's knowledge. It is assumed he incorporated elements of another one his projects that he also developed for the government, Project Prometheus. This accounts for the A.I.'s ability to uplink itself with satellites and the Military Defense Network as well as the ability to control other and lesser mechanical objects. Graiman added his and his daughter Sarah's nanotechnology to replace his previous creations' nearly indestructible Molecular Bonded Shell. Graiman decided to build the new A.I. and technology into a Ford vehicle, specifically the 2008 Shelby Mustang GT500 KR. Graiman christened the car the Knight Industries Three Thousand after his previous success the Knight Industries Two Thousand.

Graiman built in all the features that he could conceive of that would allow this car to be the ultimate supercar; a supercar that clung to the basic programming that he had written into the previous K.I.T.T. and lacked writing into both K.A.R.R.s which lead to its downfall: the preservation of human life. This directive would be K.I.T.T.'s governing doctrine, and would lead to many safely completed missions and a better world. Some of the advancements and refinements that Graiman made for this iteration of a Knight Industries' supercar were an energy-efficient solar powered system, reduced dashboard clutter with a centralized touch screen and a regenerative nano-skin that allowed K.I.T.T. to heal itself and change form whenever necessary. One of these forms was called Attack Mode. It beefed up K.I.T.T., allowing the car to achieve higher speeds and gave the car more defensive and offensive abilities. This mode was a more integrated version of the the 2000's later added Super Pursuit Mode.

Graiman was against returning K.I.T.T. and the refinements made in its programming to the NSA to finish the K.A.R.R. Program and correct the flaws in K.A.R.R.'s seemingly and continuously defective A.I. Graiman left many systems in K.I.T.T. unchecked and untested so as to not mark the project as complete, therefore not allowing the NSA to take K.I.T.T. But K.I.T.T. was still operational and ready to perform basic duties when called upon for them. But until that time, K.I.T.T. sat in Graiman's lab next to parts left over from the development of its previous counterparts.

2008 Series Pilot Movie

K.I.T.T. saw his first bit of action when soldiers from the Black River organization broke into Graiman’s mansion. The soldiers were intent on stealing everything related to Project Prometheus. The burglars stumbled onto K.I.T.T. in the garage and seemed intent on stealing the hot sports car as well, assuming Graiman was dead from a heart attack. These events triggered a fail-safe program Graiman had programmed into K.I.T.T., causing him to activate and escape. The program directed K.I.T.T. to seek out Charles' daughter Sarah and ensure her safety; locate her old childhood friend Mike Traceur to protect her (Charles respected him and believed him to be the only logical choice to protect Sarah should anything happen to him); and then turn itself in to the FBI to protect Prometheus and the rest of Graiman's research since K.I.T.T. had access to all of this and could be used by the Black River soldiers.

Attack Mode K.I.T.T.

While K.I.T.T. was returning to the Graiman mansion because of objections from Sarah about turning himself in, K.I.T.T. receives contact from Charles and brings Mike and Sarah to his location. K.I.T.T. leads Mike to Charles' room at the hotel where he is hiding and leads Mike, Charles and Jennifer Traceur, Mike's mother to safety avoiding detection from the Black River. But Graiman had stored K.I.T.T.'s data and specifications on his hard drives which the Black River soldiers took and the soldiers' technology wizkid managed to hack into K.I.T.T.'s system. K.I.T.T. shut down his software as per Graiman's orders to prevent them from getting any information out of him. Mike gets behind the wheel of K.I.T.T. to drive after the soldiers and get back Charles. With his system off, K.I.T.T. cannot regenerate his nano-skin so Mike has to tackle the soldier's vehicle the old-fashioned way by sideswiping the vehicle and firing guns. Mike positioned K.I.T.T. in front of the Black River's SUV and has Sarah reactivate the system. Doing this allows the Black River ops to finish hacking K.I.T.T.'s systems but also halted their transmission of data needed to decrypt Graiman's files on Prometheus. There is just enough time after reactivating K.I.T.T.'s system and the ops from hacking it for K.I.T.T. to repair the nano-skin and brace for a deadly impact with the SUV. The impact doesn't even dent K.I.T.T. but kills everyone in the SUV except for Charles.

After seeing what K.I.T.T. can do, Charles and the FBI decide that it is the right time to restart the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG) using K.I.T.T. as the new field unit. K.I.T.T. is paired with Mike and they set out to start making a difference in the world.

2008-2009 Series

The reformation of FLAG was halted and a new division of Knight Industries, Knight Research & Development (KR&D), was formed in conjunction with the FBI and (to Charles' dismay) the NSA. K.I.T.T. is still commissioned to be used as the Field Unit with Mike as it's driver, but now the objective has changed, and K.I.T.T. will be used to help thwart terrorists and criminals who have it out for national security. As Carrie Rivai, FBI agent in charge of the KR&D venture (named the K.I.T.T. Program) stated:

There are even some cases that the FBI can't be too closely involved with.
-- Agent Rivai, Pilot Movie

Alex Torres was assigned to the Program to be the NSA agent in charge, assigning missions to K.I.T.T. and Mike and overseeing all operations as Second-in-Command of KR&D under Dr. Graiman. Torres was assigned because of his connection with Charles and the original K.A.R.R. Program.

K.I.T.T.'s new upgraded Attack Mode with missiles ready and armed.

Graiman upgrades some of K.I.T.T.'s systems during this time. He redesigned K.I.T.T.'s Attack Mode to be more aggressive looking and adds many more defensive and offensive modifications such as missiles and mini-guns. He modified the interior, removed the centralized touch screen and added an interactive Heads Up Display (HUD). Graiman adds features that had been present in both the original iteration of K.A.R.R. and the Knight 2000, such as Turbo Boost and Ski Mode. With the help of Sarah, Charles upgraded K.I.T.T.'s nano-skin program, allowing the vehicle to effectively transform into different vehicles rather than previous morphing ability to that was limited to different versions of a Ford Mustang. Other new features were added to make K.I.T.T. the pinnacle of Knight Industries' supercars, such as holographic generator & external screens on its chassis.

K.I.T.T.'s missions ranged from protecting secret government "packages" (Episode 101: Knight in Shining Armor) to infiltrating rogue military groups (Episode 105: Knight of the Hunter) to stopping raids from anarchists (Episode 107: I Wanna Rock & Roll All Knight) and protecting foreign ambassadors from psycho maniacs and giant bombs (Episode 110: Don't Stop The Knight & Episode 111: Day Turns Into Knight). However, K.I.T.T. had his fair share of villains to deal with himself. Ryan Aeros, a scientist whom Sarah had dated and Charles worked on a project with developed a nano-virus for the government. K.I.T.T. became infected with the virus during the pursuit of Aeros as he was trying to get the virus out of the government's hands. The virus caused several of K.I.T.T.'s functions to malfunction and K.I.T.T. killed Aeros and almost killed Mike, Sarah and Charles because of it. K.I.T.T. systems were almost deleted by the virus but Mike and Sarah were able to find Aeros' counter-virus in time and was able to upload it to K.I.T.T. and the infected S.S.C. (Episode 109: Knight Fever).

K.I.T.T. had another run-in with death on Halloween of 2008. A woman named Terri Lee infiltrated the S.S.C. and impersonated Zoe Chae, one of K.I.T.T.'s technicians in attempt to gain access to all of K.I.T.T.'s files, though it remains unknown for what purpose. Lee initiates K.I.T.T.'s self-destruct sequence that Graiman installed in K.I.T.T. as to force an emergency backup of K.I.T.T. to the S.S.C. so Lee could take the files. K.I.T.T. felt betrayed that Charles had put this backdoor into K.I.T.T. K.I.T.T. discovers that the backdoor self-destruct program was installed incase K.I.T.T. ever went rogue and learned how to self-program, as his prototype, K.A.R.R., had done. Despite its distrust for Graiman, K.I.T.T. allows its files to be downloaded to the S.S.C. in hope they can install K.I.T.T. in a back up neural-net. During the upload, K.I.T.T. informs Mike about K.A.R.R. and triggers something in Mike's hazy memory, but Mike doesn't know exactly what it is. The destruct sequence is stopped in time and K.I.T.T. returns home unscathed (Episode 106: Knight of the Living Dead).

K.I.T.T.'s greatest enemy to date, however was its evil twin and prototype, K.A.R.R. After Graiman's death, the NSA moved in and shut down the S.S.C. and KR&D to move ahead with the K.A.R.R. program. Torres and Jack Hurst removed K.I.T.T.'s A.I. and install it in K.A.R.R. as the original intention was believing K.I.T.T.'s artificial intelligence will overwrite KARR's programming flaws. With only a few moments to respond, K.I.T.T. uploads all of its data onto the internet (, hoping that Mike would find him and restore him. Billy Morgan and Zoe are able to download K.I.T.T. onto a makeshift CPU to reinstall in the Knight 3000, which was carted away to a hangar at Area 51, Nevada. K.I.T.T. is reactivated only with a few memory gaps, but not all his systems are operational yet, and go face to face with K.A.R.R. in a weakened state. With the guidance of Mike, K.I.T.T. was able to use some of its more simpler features such as Ski Mode, the grappling hook and Turbo Boost to save Torres from K.A.R.R.'s grasp and then eliminate K.A.R.R. K.I.T.T. did sustain damage, but was able to limp back to the dismantled S.S.C. to be repaired and await new missions; missions that were not decided upon by the government, but the reinstated FLAG (Episode 112: Knight to King's Pawn).


  • Black Ice: First used in the episode "knight of the zodiac" when Virgo plays possum and escapes over a fence.
  • Grappling Hook and Winch: K.I.T.T. 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 4 "a hard days knight" when Michael is dying in K.I.T.T while Sarah is trying to stop the truck to get the antidote to the lethal poison.
  • Olfactory Sensor: KITT could "smell" via an atmospheric sampling device mounted in his front bumper.
  • 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 102: A Hard Day's Knight to cut a chain connecting Mike to an overturned car.
  • Voice Stress Analyzer: KITT can process spoken voices and determine if someone may be lying.
  • Computer Printout: KITT could print hard copies of data on a dashboard-mounted printer. First used in Episode 2 "a hard day's knight" K.I.T.T produced a perfect copy of an invitation for Sarah to gain entry into a model bikini pool party.


See also: K.I.T.T. (Popular Mechanics Specs)

As an upgraded version of K.I.T.T 2000, K.I.T.T. 3000 contains many of the same features as its predecessor. However, due to improvements in materials science, computer miniaturization, and other technology advances, similar features may have dramatically improved effectiveness in the later car.

The known features of K.I.T.T. 3000 include:

  • Backup Mainframe Processor: If KITT detects a fault or damage with his microprocessor, he carries a backup which can be mounted in the field automatically.
  • Windshield Projection: Used in place of the center console screen in the Pilot. Basically, the entire front windshield is configured to display extra information and well as display the video communication link with the SSC.
  • Bio Matrix Scanner: Used to detect the health status of persons in the the immediate area.
  • Nanotech Skin Repair: Installed in lieu of the Molecular Bonded Shell from the original series. Unlike KITT's former incarnation of an impregnable outer shell of the vehicle with a nearly indestructible polymer, KITT is a standard car with tiny nano-machines that upon detection of any damage will instantly repair said area. When KITT is deactivated, the nano system is also disabled, making him susceptible to physical damage.
  • Turbo Boost: (Used in conjunction with attack mode): A power injector system that allows for large, but brief amounts of power to allow KITT to jump over obstacles. This ability along with directional exhaust outlets allows KITT to jump from a standstill or at high speed and can also do a ski type of manuver (knight to king's pawn)that lifts the side of the car.
  • Hood Surface Screen: Similar to projection windshield. Allows KITT to display data on exterior hood for outside briefings or with other parties.
  • Offensive Missiles: (Used in conjunction with attack mode): 2 tube launched missiles that are retracted from either door.
  • Gatling Guns (Again, used in conjunction with attack mode): 2 gatling-style guns that are retracted from the hood. Seen in season 1 episode 15, "Fly By Knight". In episode 16, "Knight and the City", KITT deploys a single machine gun while in regular mode. In this episode, KITT also indicates that he would run out of ammunition in 7 seconds, and that in that timespan, he would expend 8,000 rounds, which means that KITT's gatling guns have an approximate rate of fire of 1,143 rounds per second.
  • Laser: As the name suggests, a device that creates a light beam capable of destroying locks and other items. Projected from scanner bar.
  • EMP Weapon: An electromagnetic pulse projector to allow disabling of any electronic circuit or device within the given area. First seen in "Knight of the Zodiac".
  • Anti Missile Flares: Deployed from rear bumper. Disk-like objects that when dispensed produce an intense heat source to deter heat-seeking projectiles.
  • Anti Traction Compound Dispenser: (Known as Black Ice): An exterior dispenser that can eject a liquid, making the targeted surface tractionless.
  • Interior Tear Gas Dispenser: Used for anti-theft and defensive purposes. KITT can fill the car's cabin with tear gas to incapacitate a would-be thief as seen in Episode 7, "I Wanna Rock & Roll All Knight".
  • 3D Object Printer: A device that allows for the creation of small 3D objects (such as keys) based on available electronic data.
  • Printer: Standard printer used for documents and incoming faxes. Located in the passenger side dash.
  • Fingerprint Overlay Printer: A device accessible via the glove box that allows KITT to scan fingerprints from an inserted object and overlay then onto another person's hand.
  • Weapons Cache: Small arms cache accessible via the glove box area that usually contains 2 9MM handguns with extra clips for occupant's protection outside KITT.
  • First Aid: Accessible via glove box. Allows for field mending of physical wounds such as lost appendages.
  • Self-Destruct: A software program secretly built into KITT that when activated by the SSC turns KITT into a bomb using his fuel as the charge and his computer as the detonator.


"Initiating transformation....Transformation complete."

K.I.T.T.'s nano-skin allows for transformations into his different modes and different vehicles all together.

The following is a list of the vehicles that K.I.T.T. has transformed into and the episodes in which these transformations occurred:

  1. Attack Mode (Customized 2008 Ford Mustang GT-500 KR)
    1. 2008 Pilot Movie (Ver. 1)
    2. Majority of Series (Ver. 2)
  2. 2009 Ford F-150 Pickup Truck
    1. First Appeared in Season 1, Episode 1
    2. Various Episodes since
  3. Underwater Submersible
    1. Season 1, Episode 3
  4. Ford E-150 Van
    1. Season 1, Episode 4
  5. Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor
    1. Season 1, Episode 4
  6. 2008 Ford Mustang Warrior in Pink Convertible
    1. Season 1, Episode 6
  7. 2009 Ford Flex
    1. Season 1, Episode 8
  8. 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1
    1. Season 1, Episode 15

Behind the Scenes

The Knight Industries Three Thousand was designed by Harald Belker, and the parts to modify the Shelby were created by Ted Moser from Picture Car Warehouse.[1]


Three versions of K.I.T.T. were created, for the movie. [2]:

  • The K.I.T.T. Hero: the "everyday" car
  • The K.I.T.T. Attack: a high speed version with Air-ride Suspension technology and special body parts for "Attack Mode"
  • The K.I.T.T. Remote: a driverless version of the Hero

As with all of K.I.T.T.'s visual transformations, changes between the versions are done digitally with CGI animation.

K.I.T.T.'s "Attack" version has different coloring from the other versions: the gray Shelby stripes, wheels, and badging are blacked out. This is presumably part of K.I.T.T.'s nanotech camouflage stealth defenses

The Redesign

Fan reaction to the 2008, made-for-TV movie was mixed. While everyone badly wanted Knight Rider back on the air, the general consensus was that the Three Thousand was missing the very elements that made the original K.I.T.T., one of the most recognizable cars in fictional history. The biggest complaint was that the morphing was too slick, too obviously CGI. This grated, when compared to the Two Thousand’s Super Pursuit Mode transformation, which accomplished the same thing, while being a purely mechanically-plausible looking affair. Just as disturbing, K.I.T.T.’s familiar, old bag of tricks were entirely missing; aside from weaving in and out of traffic, and a major upgrade to his evasion and route planning abilities. One of the few positives was the return of the original K.I.T.T.’s core mandate: Protect human life.

A second article in Popular Mechanics became the Fans’ voice[3], and the show’s creators listened.[4] K.I.T.T.’s battle mode was given a complete redesign, the new Attack Mode taking the form of a low-riding exotic sports car, with an options package straight out of James Bond. The new conversion sequence took its cue from the wildly successful live action Transformers Movie, featuring plenty of moving parts in an intricate bit of mechanical origami that looked utterly believable. Turbo Boost, one of K.I.T.T.’s original, signature moves, made its triumphant return, along with a host of new abilities, over the next several episodes.


Originally, Will Arnett was cast as the voice of K.I.T.T. However, after he had finished recording his parts to everyone's satisfaction, a contract dispute was raised. His is the distinctive voice heard on GMC car and truck commercials, but K.I.T.T. is a Ford vehicle. As a result, Val Kilmer was cast as K.I.T.T.'s voice and the material was re-recorded. [5]