Introduction of tablets disrupted not only consumer electronics industry. Tablets in general enabled new usage patterns and expectations. Consumers are now demanding real-time information and connectivity wherever they go. This fact is causing a massive amount of disruption in the automotive industry. Vehicle’s connectivity, digital products and services have become as important as the engine and brakes. Digitalization is now the biggest strategic issue for auto executives. Using handhelds (e.g. Smartphone, phatblet, or tablet) as a bridge and keeping applications embedded in the tablet while integrating the tablet into a vehicle ecosystem creates many opportunities for V2X developments.
02. The Goal
The mobile industry has managed to establish vital ecosystems gathered around each leading mobile OS. No such ecosystem currently exists when it comes to the automotive manufacturer leaders. Tablet-Based IVI System project bridges up between research and development processes of consumer electronics and automotive industries by developing a platform allowing for delivering and maintaining hardware capability to run and re-use the newest applications and contents for next few years, leveraging the existing Android mobile ecosystem.
create a platform allowing for use of the latest apps and technologies in car
tailor latest apps and contents to fit into automotive visual grades
maximize the amount of the content assisting driver on the core task of driving
minimize the interaction with contents unrelated to core task of driving
minimize the time driver's eyes spend away from the road
minimize driver's learning curve to complete the task
integrate handhelds and 3-rd party apps
integrate tablet into vehicle dashboard and make it a part of car ecosystem
prioritising and grouping complex features and apps
splitting information across user interface layers
utilizing colors and elements dimension
03. My Role
At a very initial stage of the project I acted as a UX Researcher and Business Analyst, collecting information and insights, observing driver patents, scrapping forums discussion for emerging ideas coming from car enthusiasts, spending time at the car dealership to learn and identify diver expectations towards the in-vehicle infotainment to move from invotainment "as it is" to "it is to be". As the research work progressed further, I was asked to overtake a Product Owner role to coordinate cross-functional team to define and lead ideation and brainstorms to prototyping and testing design experiments. Engaging agile methodologies, all ideas gathered at the initial stage and experiments were tested with internal teams at in order to validate design decisions, and to turn meaningful insights into most possible and acceptable product directions. When the product prototype has been completed, a meeting with automaker was set in order to present the revolutionary in-vehicle infotainment concept. The product concept was showcased to the automaker though user stories, product brief, and prototype hands-on experience. A full-function demo device was delivered to CES 2015 exhibition in Las Vegas
Product background research
Conceptualization and ideation
Scope definition and project planning
Project vision to align with automakers business goals
Execution and validation to monitor the status of project sprints
Deliver product brief and hands-on experience to the automakers to gather users feedback
Establish a partnership with the automaker
04. The Challenge
It is a general principle that the automotive industry pays special attention to safety and security. Many regulations around these domains make life very tough and set high barriers for those who wishes to enter the automotive industry. Tablets and most of the existing mobile applications are not designed for usage in a vehicle. Which is why MirrorLink™ technology enabling optimised UI (aka. User Interface) tailored for use while driving was selected as a base for the Tablet-Based IVI System.
In order to keep the IVI (aka. In-Vehicile Infotainment) system hardware, content and applications up to date, the design of the system was split into three (3) major elements: Headunit, Tablet, and an automotive tailored application.
05. The Structure
Embedded into vehicle dashboard at the factory, base headunit was design to deliver classic audio-based infotainment features (e.g. handsfree, radio, audio streaming, etc.)
Docked into vehicle dashboard 4G-, NFC (aka. Near Field Communication) and wireless charging-enabled tablet auto synchronises the dashboard features and info, merges it up with tablet-based driver-focused contents and apps. Revolutionary detachable, cable-free design allowed for seamless transformation of the base headunit into a a full-functional, content-limitless infotainment system. The system supports in-car wireless charging to make sure the tablet battery is at optimal charge. NFC, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies enable wireless video- and audio- communications between the tablet and the dashboard. The tablet serves as an interactive interface when docked into the vehicle dashboard, allowing users to access personalized content from both the dashboard and the tablet, to use of the latest available content and reuse of both hardware and software. This structure ensures the tablet and software compatibility with the headunit for consistent 5-plus years, which goes in pace with both consumer electronics and automotive research and development process.
To assist on transaction and to solve the problem of traditional automotive designs, minimalist, distinctive and clear visual structure a along with content hierarchy was applied to reflect existing consumer electronics and driver behaviours. Horizontal content alignment was applied to simulate familiar mobile interfaces. Most critical information was pulled upfront: Traffic alerts, audio library, most recent contacts, and voice assistant. 3-rd party apps support was brought on top of existing dashboard functionality. In order to fit the 3-rd party apps into the vehicle displays, the content was scaled and graded to the vehicle GUI (aka. Graphic User Interface) standards
06. The Impact
A tablet was seamlessly integrated into vehicle dashboard bringing the latest and reusable contents to the vehicle-tablet owner. The lifecycle of the vehicle dashboard was extended, as the system allowed for easy hardware upgrades within a scope of a single tablet selection and content personalisation. Tablet can be simply undocked from the dashboard and used as regular tablet at work, school, office, etc.
In order to minimize interaction with handhelds while driving, the system architecture was primary focused on accommodating core-task focussed dashboard contents, and merging those contents up with essential headunit features and 3-rd party automotive-tailored apps (e.g. Google Maps, Spotify, TineIn, etc.) to keep the person behind the wheel connected to the world and digital media.
Selected touch-based interfaces (GUI) commands were replaced with voice interfaces (VUI) to allow for prompt tasks accomplishments. The top time consuming tasks, such as setting up the navigation (45 seconds), select the radio station (42 seconds) or find a record (37 seconds) where accomplished by volunteers who tested the system in 15 seconds per task
already existing applications and software packages could be leveraged and re-used within the designed system
two use cases where developed for one tablet: Home- or office-based use. First and only IVI system with tablet fully integrated into dashboard system
the lifecycle of the dashboard system was extended to 10+ years allowing the system upgrades within a single tablet