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  • Nicole

BE DRIVEN: Autonomous Vehicles and Driverless Cars

I want to be a CHAV*! (Cool, Has Autonomous Vehicle).

The Autonomous Vehicle is here… already. A little disappointing that it doesn’t look like Kitt or the DeLorean DMC-12 but let’s get one anyway!

This is what we are hoping to do in our AVs:

Be driven. Be kept safe. Be comfortable. Be entertained.

The novelty of having a car that does things for us will be an amazing rush but when all the usual experiences of being a driver are taken away, what do we do - while we’re being driven?

We are looking at ways of replacing these experiences so that it's as much a joy to be in an AV as to gad about in, say, a 1968 Ford Mustang. We want that same level of quality and sophistication in our AVs so that, while they are advanced, they excite rather than scare buyers.

According to those working on AVs, the quest to roll out new features will unfold pretty swiftly over the next 5 years. There are a number of stages of automation before we get to completely driverless cars with no steering wheel, though. At the moment we have cars that assist with speed or cruise control, and now vehicles introducing new features that mean our hands can be off the wheel for brief periods (although we must maintain vigilance for safety reasons and retake the wheel when instructed to). But Chris Urmson, of Google parent corporation Alphabet Inc. warned, “human drivers can’t always be trusted to dip in and out of the task of driving when the car is encouraging them to sit back and relax.” So we at Dovetailed are researching maintaining levels of vigilance, perhaps through gamification, so that there need not be a delay in the introduction of hands-off-wheel AVs, as has been suggested by some.

A personalised experience is a must in our future AVs. We would like our AV to recognise and greet us, set the environment in our vehicle space just so – the optimal temperature, ‘our’ seat at a particular height and hardness, ambient lighting… We would like things to do in the AV and new ways in which to do them, the opportunity to switch off completely and maybe sleep or perhaps to invite friends along on the journey to share in some in-vehicle entertainment.

We want engagement and sustainable enjoyment of our AVs and we want it now!

These are the user-experience challenges being faced by Autonomous Vehicle makers and we at Dovetailed are researching, brain-storming and swiftly rolling out our ideas to meet them.

*we might have to call it nūCHAV or something as this might already be in use.

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