Tuesday UX Trainer: Automated cars and UX

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You reading an issue of Tuesday UX Trainer, a series that teaches you something new about UX design every week.

Each day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.  (Source: CDC.gov)

Isn’t that statistic just crazy? It got me wondering if UX can solve some of the biggest problems in driving, from distraction to connected & driverless cars . Enter this issue of Tuesday UX Trainer. 

Andreesen Horowitz’s presentation 16 Questions About Self Driving Cars includes questions like “when will we switch to autonomous cars?” Uber says it’s fleet will be 100% autonomous by 2030, while most of the crucial technologies are already exist, and will be drastically optimized in the next 5 years. It’s insane to think that the autonomous future is likely to arrive in our lifetimes!

AAA published a fascinating study on distracted driving. Their methodology was to measure how much attention (visual, physical) new “infotainment” systems demand from their drivers. Turns out, these systems are pretty damn distracting. You can even browse the dozens of car models that AAA tested.

Last year, at Interaction 16, Richard Aguilar of the Mercedez-Benz UX team presented Designing Experiences for the Connected Car. Instead of fancy new interactions, I was more interested in the talk’s mental model of Before DrivingWhile Driving, and After Driving. 

Ready for a long, fascinating read? The secret issues that will make (or break) driverless cars centers around how Volkswagen is exploring how UX can build trust between driver & vehicle in these early days of autonomous driving. I love the part about how metaphors help humans understand new technology.

Example: “the controls of a driverless car should be a like a horse’s reins: Pull up the slack, and you’re in control. Let them loose, then the car is.”

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Keep learnin’

Oz, UX coach @ UXBeginner.com

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