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.
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.
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”.
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 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 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.
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 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!