Our objective for this year-long project for Audi was to provide a driver living in an urban environment in 2025 with a personalized, seamless, and distraction free driving experience. Our seven-person team consisted of designers and engineers from Stanford and the Technische Universität München.
At the start of our project, we defined our user persona. This was a middle-aged working man that had a management role at a big company. He enjoyed the comforts of his own car and spent much of his morning calling in to meetings while sitting in traffic. The main things he needed to know while driving were when his meetings were that morning, who he was talking with, and whether he was going to be late to work due to road conditions.
After observing various people drive to work while trying to manage their schedules, we realized that the driver could only handle one of the above scenarios fully. If a meeting needed to be changed or a road was closed, there was no easy way to notify the other party while driving except for to reach for a cell phone. Our solution was to provide a combination of a context aware system and gesture shortcuts that would allow our driver to respond quickly while still being safe on the road.
GESTURE INPUTS | Around the steering wheel, we placed a screen and infrared cameras that would display relevant information to the user and allow users to act without lifting their hands from the wheel.
TOUCH INPUTS | We designed the center console to always show four menu options at a time located in the top, bottom, left and right sides of the screen. Users would select a menu option by swiping in that direction. These inputs were strung together to navigate through multiple menu layers via a simple finger pattern. By relying on touch inputs, the driver naturally started to memorize patterns corresponding to the most frequently used features. This personalized the driving experience and also made navigation through the menu more efficient.