The Future of the Automotive UX

The Future Automotive UX

Soon to be, if it isn’t already, the smartest thing you own already – your Automobile.

The coming years is going to be an incredible redesign opportunity for the automotive sector, not least with the removal of the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) to create more space, combined with a rapid immersion in technology, 5G and that’s before we’re even talking Autonomous Driving!

In 4yrs, approaching half of the purchasing population will be millennials. This means an incredible familiarity with technology, connectivity and frictionless experiences.

Automotive Manufacturers need to start looking for inspiration from the consumer-tech sector, where companies such as Google, Apple, Amazon, and Uber keep raising the bar on what a best-in-class digital customer experience looks like.

Today, it includes a seamless and reliable service, competent advisory functions, personalized omni-channel communication, 24/7 support, and contextual social marketing.

This Millennial generation expects their car to reflect and strengthen the brand they’re buying into, the entire aesthetic to be in-keeping with the look and feel of the car’s interior, not to look like some generic set of controls that could be in any car in the last decade. They expect their car to seamlessly connect to their digital world as well as as the world around them. And when that’s done well, they can form an emotional connection with their car, and that can influence buying decisions and thus revenue opportunities.

Infotainment environment all under voice control
Infotainment, environment all under voice control

The Automotive UX Future Vision

The one however that interests me most is Voice as it’s slowly infiltrating our lives. Back at home, Siri, GoogleHome and Alexa are busy undergoing back-end rapid improvements, so much so that within 3-5yrs fast connectivity and multiple devices will be able to connect through them. And, of course numerous apps built on top.

Much simpler is the car and with safety in mind, the faster uptake.

This is a more contained environment, less options to engage and therefore a simpler user experience.

With music being the most popular form of in-car entertainment, Spotify is currently working on its own voice-controlled in-car player called Car Thing.

Imagine the possibilities when you can casually talk to your car, regarding points of interest and real-time conditions of the road. For example, if you don’t understand a direction your navigation system gives you, your car might simply say, “Just follow the car ahead, taking a right turn”.

Retail getting ready for the new UX

The idea that I can control each part of my car from environment, infotainment and navigation, brings us closer to the Autonomous Vehicle future. I can picture the major retailers of CVS Pharmacy, Starbucks, Walmart etc already working to integrate their locations and e-commerce with the voice platforms.

The more seamless a rider’s experience becomes, the more opportunities there will be to affect revenue, cost, and safety. As technology in the connected-car ecosystem becomes more sophisticated, consumer expectations will evolve in parallel, creating a need to deliver higher-value user experiences.

The OS for the UX?

For me, I’m an Apple lover, just because the quality of the hardware feels better, but above that it’s the seamless connectivity across my IOS and Mac OS devices. Next, I want the same in the car for everything. Will Apple create the dominant vehicle or will they partner on their OS or will the Automotive Manufacturers create their for integration?

Ever advancing semi-autonomous driving
Ever advancing semi-autonomous driving

Let’s move the CX to Semi-Autonomous Vehicles

The retracting steering wheel, adjustable seating arrangements, clean surfaces with touch screen/voice activated displays and all surrounding each occupant. It starts with the User Experience, just like everything should!

Facial recognition technology to determine who’s entering the car. AI allows the vehicle to learn about you and put that knowledge into action to improve your time in the vehicle. It will learn your music, podcast habits, prepare you for forthcoming meetings, understand where you like to stop for coffee and put your order in before you get there.

The user interface between vehicle and occupant will change dramatically. Voice commands will dominate, and gesture control will increase. Static buttons and dials will disappear. With the advance of artificial intelligence, some designers speculate that the need for interfaces could largely disappear.

Semi-Autonomous Vehicles

The Future

You’re at home, you need to go to the office – you call up your personal ride. It will arrive at your home, you jump in and head to the freeway.

On the freeway, it will merge seamlessly into a stream of other modules traveling at 120, 150 mph. The speed doesn’t matter. You have a blending of rail-type with individual transportation.

Then, as you approach your exit, your module will enter deceleration lanes, exit and go to your final destination.

In a few years, self-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways. It’s inevitable when AVs approach 30% of those on the road and the stats show 99.9% of vehicle accidents attributed to human drivers.

The Ultimate UX

I hear you say, “people don’t trust Autonomous Vehicles”?

Neither would I if it didn’t come from a tech organization, firmly grounded in technology for years! This brings several to mind and drops various Automotive Manufacturers out of mind!

It’ll happen carefully, first infiltrating the big fleets of Uber, Lyft, USPS, FedEx, Amazon

It’ll be the death of performance vehicles, except as a controlled-environment play thing. The performance of the regular vehicle will be the same for all because nobody will be passing anyone else on the highway.

Sorry to say, but I can’t wait.

It’s a time to spend your time better, be that socializing, experiencing or working – you know, just doing something more worthwhile

The Automotive UX of the future
The Automotive UX of the future

My name’s Andrew Sparrow and I’m an Autonomous, Connected, Electric, Shared/Subscription Vehicle Nut!

I blog, vlog & podcast passionately about our need to innovate & thrive, about managing the product lifecycle (PLM) & ever improving smarter manufacturing (MES/MOM/Digital Manufacturing). I love working with the solution vendors, the large consultancies & system integrators & helping them promote themselves & best practice, while at the same time helping deliver great projects through my networks

I love & thrive in working with some of the world’s largest companies such as Airbus, Capgemini, Dassault Systemes, Ericsson, JLR, TOTAL, Siemens, Sony, Subsea7 & Unilever, to name a few

I’m a big people-person & have spent my life meeting as many people & cultures as I can. At my last count, I am lucky enough to have visited & done business in over 55 countries

So far my community is 20,000+ strong & continues to grow, as I try to bring value to that audience through my vlogs, blogs & podcasts

You can reach me on: 949 297-6836 |