KITT is the short name of two fictional characters from the adventure TV series Knight Rider. While having the same acronym, the KITTs are two different entities: one known as the Knight Industries Two Thousand, which appeared in the original TV series Knight Rider, and the other as the Knight Industries Three Thousand, which appeared first in the two-hour 2008 pilot film for a new Knight Rider TV series and then the new series itself. In both instances, Kitt is an artificially intelligent electronic computer module installed in a highly advanced, very mobile, robotic automobile: the original KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) as a 1982 Pontiac Firebird, and the second KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) as a 2008-2009 Ford Shelby GT500KR.
In the television show's history, the first KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) was said to have been designed by the late Wilton Knight, a brilliant but eccentric billionaire and founder of the fictional Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG) and its parent Knight Industries. The 2008 pilot movie later implied that Charles Graiman, creator of the Knight Industries Three Thousand, also had a hand in designing the first KITT.
According to the series, the original 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 humanitarian 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). KARR was later unwittingly reactivated by thieves in the original episode Trust Doesn't Rust, was thought destroyed, then reappeared in the episode K.I.T.T. vs. K.A.R.R and was seen to be finally destroyed by Michael and KITT.
While the 2008 pilot movie and then the new series could appear to the casual viewer to be simply a revamp of the original series, it actually offers a form of genuine (albeit at times indeterminate) continuity from the original TV series Knight Rider. The 'new' or 'second' KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) is a completely different vehicle and microprocessor unit, and its driver is not the first Michael Knight, but his son, Mike Traceur, who eventually assumes the same title. The original Michael Knight makes an appearance in the 2008 pilot movie, verifying that he is the father of Mike Traceur, and is described as having driven 'the first KITT'. The original physical incarnation of the Knight Industries Two Thousand is also shown in the pilot movie (although in pieces) in the scene where the garage of Charles Graiman (creator of the Knight Industries Three Thousand and implied co-designer of the original KITT) is searched by antagonists. A Trans-am body (sans-hood) is partially covered by a tarp, on which rests the rear spoiler. The famous KITT steering wheel (labelled "Knight Two Thousand") and "KNIGHT" license plate are also shown, along with numerous black car body parts. When the camera shows a full scene of the garage, there are three cars in the garage: The 3000, The 2000 under the tarp and a 2000 without any of the parts missing. We never know what happened to the first KITT's A.I. microprocessor unit.
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