Autonomous Cars in the Age of Experience

By Thomas

AKKA Link&GoCustomer buying behavior is fundamentally changing. Living in mega-cities, they often have to cope with traffic congestion and pollution. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.2M people throughout the world are killed in car crashes every year. Human error is to blame for at least 60% of traffic fatalities. Vehicles are, in fact, mission critical systems because of the sheer mass they move in a fairly open system.

Now, customers care more and more about aesthetic, economic, driving performance, or unlimited technology. That is why the Transportation and Mobility industry is now exploring how to deliver the optimal “experiences” to their consumers. We are on the brink of a new technological revolution: the “self-driving” vehicles.

Olivier Sappin, Transportation & Mobility VP at Dassault Systèmes, provides a quick overview of this technological breakthrough:

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Validate Customer Experience

Autonomous driving makes it possible to create entirely new driving experiences. The industry is thinking about how autonomous cars would “move” people, and not just in the literal sense. Self-driving cars could encourage work, relaxation or conversation. Passengers will spend their time in a more meaningful way. Autonomous cars will enable you to watch TV, listen to music, text a friend, or even eat dinner… without looking at the road ahead. As today’s drivers want to connect their various mobile, entertainment and GPS devices to optimize their vehicle environment, the new era of Transportation & Mobility starts to encompass social experiences. And these advancements will also improve productivity!

Self-driving cars make it necessary to test new types of vehicle-driver interaction. Now, consumers are fast becoming more comfortable with intelligent transportation systems: automatic parking, collision-avoidance systems and telematics. As a result, consumers of all ages are surely becoming prepared psychologically to cede control of the steering wheel.

So the idea is to challenge traditional automotive design. Automobile interiors will be redesigned so that seats can swivel sideways to face other passengers instead of facing forward, and desk surfaces will be built into the cabin walls.

AKKA Link&Go Interior

New Levels of Complexity To Be Managed

Automakers are increasingly developing cars that drive themselves. Audi, BMW, GM, Nissan, Toyota, and Volvo all have announced plans to “unveil” an autonomous car by 2020. But Google is further ahead in this development than traditional industry leaders (Google is to release publicly a prototype in 2016). Autonomous vehicle drive systems are electro-mechanic and driven by software. That is why the industry strives to build cars from a systems model which allows them to validate functions including electrical, software and hardware.

Connectivity within and between vehicle environment is still a huge challenge. Vehicles can collaborate, interpret data from other vehicles around them, from surroundings, with the “Internet of Things” and improved GPS technology. Thanks to sensors allowing them to drive closer together, autonomous cars will accelerate and brake more efficiently than humans, increasing fuel efficiency. These standards continue to be discussed in the Transportation and Mobility industry.

Olivier Sappin, VP Transportation and Mobility, interviews Luc Barthelemy, R&D Program Manager at AKKA Technologies about a new autonomous concept car, Link&Go.

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Collaborate Effectively

None will do it alone. Today’s car OEMs are building new relationships with innovators in many new areas (apps, car sharing, service providers, urban transport). Transportation and Mobility suppliers are building expertise too, not only by collaborating with OEMs in innovative ways, but also by creating new networks of expertise by themselves. AKKA Technologies is a great example.

According to the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), self-driving cars will account for up to 75% of cars on the road by 2040. These new vehicles and sophisticated systems management tools will speed up innovation and foster new collaborative networks in order to create new, secure and delightful autonomous driving experiences.

AKKA Link&Go 2.0

There are still many questions unanswered:

  • Why don’t we see more driverless cars in the streets?
  • Who will be faster to get autonomous cars on the road? Car manufacturers, innovative companies, government,…?
  • What is the future of self-driving cars?
  • What do you think about this revolution?

We are looking forward to your comments and suggestions!

Thomas LANDOIS is a member of the Transporation&Mobility industry team.

Smart is Beautiful, or the Aesthetics of a Connected Vehicle Experience

By Neno

At this year’s Festival de l’Automobile International (FAI), the contenders for the “Creativ’ Experience” award showed impressive new ways to bring harmony, style and passion to the interfaces of the connected, intelligent vehicle.

Scene

Festival de l'Automobile International

In the 29th edition of the renowned FAI many of today´s automotive design leaders had their latest innovations on the catwalk – in front of the magnificent scenery of the Hôtel National des Invalides in the heart of Paris.

As every year, prestigious awards were waiting to honour outstanding design achievements in categories like the most beautiful car, the most beautiful interior or for achievements for the environment.

Scope

2014 Festival de l'Automobile International - all winners on stage

Dassault Systèmes, a many-year partner of this venue, last year introduced a second “Grand Prix” award for companies doing significant research optimizing the user experience of driving an intelligent car, including the user experience of connecting with its surrounding world. Industry professionals call this approach “creative experience”.

Solutions

Anne Asensio and Pierre Marchadier on FAI 2014 stage

It should be no surprise that most contenders presented solutions around the Human-Machine-Interface. While it looks simple to get information to the car and back to the external world, we find that many user concepts today overstrain drivers who – in contrast to a smartphone user – must not be distracted from driving at any time. In that respect, all present OEMs showed impressive achievements that make functional complexity more simple and safe to use. At the same time, the user interfaces become more intuitive, aesthetic and compelling to explore. Here are some examples we saw at the FAI:

BMW i App

BMW has designed an amazing digital navigation environment integrating the smartphone and cockpit interfaces that invite drivers to discover the many new benefits from electric mobility, and at the same time master the range limitation with multi-modal mobility solutions – that’s cool!

Nissan NISMO watch

NISSAN brings “lifeblood into the driving experience”: NISMO, a beautifully designed arm-watch integrates body data like blood pressure with vehicle information to generate entirely new statistics about driving behaviour.

Amongst such a fabulous competition, it was not an easy win for AUDI, who took the award of the “Creativ’ Experience”, yet a well deserved one for sure: Their “eKurzinfo”, which is a dynamic electronic user manual for the new A3 model, creates an unprecedented user experience: Augmented Reality is helping to discover vehicle functions with handheld devices. Users are provided with an instant and intuitive way to get to know their A3, simply using a marvelously designed app for mobile devices. The jury was impressed how AUDI realised such a smart and seamless digital continuity to ignite emotion and comfort in discovering vehicle functions. Audi A3 users for sure will appreciate this experience too.

AUDI eKurzinfo 01AUDI eKurzinfo 02
AUDI eKurzinfo 03
AUDI eKurzinfo 04

Seeking perfection

These are all brilliant achievements in a moment of time. But how can designers keep up with the ever-increasing complexity and speed of innovation? How can they match with continuously changing tastes and styles, with societal and technological influences all over the globe?

Virtualisation is a key enabler to cope with these challenges. Creating innovation by means of an immersive digital model allows designers to imagine a holistic user experience. Dynamic, three-dimensional views very close to reality help them conceive the physical and emotional outcome of their designs. Moreover, they can even invite the future users to validate the experience at very early stages, and they can incorporate the feedback from these “virtual clinic” multitudes faster than in a physical design environment.

Dassault Systemes My Car Experience - Industry Solution Experience

Dassault Systèmes has recently launched “My Car Experience”, a digital platform for designers on which they can imagine vehicles and “virtual universes” for creating mobility innovation. Along with the 3D-environment, process and data management, this collaborative platform provides capability for “social listening and collaboration”.

Seeking perfection by means of virtual universes will certainly be a key enabler for creating the future of mobility, but in my view nothing can replace some key events in the real world – like the FAI is one – when designers, their creations and the judging client meet for a unique and unrepeatable moment in life.

  • What do you think about designing the future of mobility?
  • How do you think virtual universes can help on this endeavour?

I am looking forward to your comments!  :-)

Neno HorvatNeno Horvat is a member of the Transportation&Mobility Industry team.

Creating the Future of Mobility

By Neno

Recently, German Handelsblatt published an interesting photo gallery on the Future of Mobility as it’s shown by automotive innovators on this year’s L.A. Auto Show.

I found this an amazing perspective, and a pity it seems still somewhat far off from today’s real life vehicle innovation on the glossy stages of the motor show. Now we know innovation cycles are getting rapidly shorter; the future is accelerating and those mobility dreams of tomorrow might be already parking in front of our doors.

The innovation forefront of our vehicle manufacturers is creating fascinating designs of mobility solutions that are integrated into their urban, architectural and energy systems in surprisingly new ways:

  • Bio engineering and new intelligent materials will make our vehicles more personal and relevant for us. At the same time, we will have safe and seamless mobility experiences.
  • Our future mobility solutions will be modular and integrated with smart grids. This is how they will become lean and sustainable – in their production, in use and when they are withdrawn from service.
  • Wheel-less concepts might even take us off-road Kangaroo-like or swarm under ground like river fish. Can this go as far as for our roads to become playgrounds then?

The high performance, multifunctional and configurable vehicles so many people can afford today – are the result of at least 50 years of engineering of systems and processes.

  • For a vehicle to perform according to requirements, many thousands of variables and relationships between electrical, mechanical and software components need to be designed, tested and validated for faultless operation.
  • For a vehicle to get from the design office to the dealers showroom at the right time at right cost and right quality – cash flow management and production processes including supply chain must be excellent.

Obviously – to minimize cost, time and errors – most of these creative, procedural and administrative activities are being carried out virtually today. The boundaries today are the “vehicle” or “production plant” systems. These systems can be managed and their physical, logical and human interfaces to the external world are defined. It is common practice today to virtually validate the kinematic behavior of an opening car door, the mechatronic behavior of an electric window closing and the procedural behavior of an assembly line design.

When we think about new mobility experiences, their boundaries are being opened; physical interfaces will be arbitrary, human interaction unprecedented. It seems that the creators of these new experiences will have to be designers, architects and strategists with a “magic” imagination to create and communicate possible scenarios and behaviors. More than likely, they will use software tools to immersively navigate mobility concepts that don’t yet exist. Intelligent virtual universes will help them dynamically explore ideas in precise physical and logical conditions. Similar to how we can simulate how a cat sees our urban reality, the creators of tomorrow’s mobility solutions will be able to take any perspective they want to ensure we will like and value their invention. I can hardly wait for this new era of mobility experiences  :-)

Go innovators, go!!  :D


Neno HorvatNeno HORVAT is a member of the Transportation&Mobility Industry team.



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