Feedback: how interfaces help drivers communicate with cars

Augmented reality (AR) penetrates traditional industries — retail, healthcare — and changes them. We already once wrote that the car is the first contender for the title of the main AR-platform. The annual spread of AR in the automotive industry confirms this.

We will understand how the “communication” of the driver with the car as a whole is built and how this process can be changed using augmented reality and other technologies.

Photo Joi Ito / CC

Interfaces as the basis of interaction

A bridge for “communication” between a person and a device is an interface or system with which objects of different types interact . A person and a machine make contact with a program or a physical device, for example, a port or connection. There are many approaches to interpreting the concept of "interface" in a broad sense, but we propose to further understand it as a conditional boundary between two heterogeneous systems.

From the user's point of view, an interface is a means of communication between it and a third-party system. The task of interface developers is to model a working “communication” channel. The portal describes user interface design (UI) as a prediction of what users may need in their work, and providing this in the most accessible way to understand and use. In turn, the UX or “user experience” is responsible for the way the interface interacts.

“Translation Difficulties”: Problems and Solutions to Complex Interfaces

Kobi Everdell (Cobie Everdell), a specialist in design, as an example of a good UX leads the original Ford Model T 1908. He had one lever and one sensor on the dashboard. It did not distract from safe management and solved all the problems - for the driver of the early twentieth century.

More than 100 years ago, a vehicle device was not able to communicate to the driver the amount of information that the modern Ford is ready to share. Now, design experts are faced with new questions: should the driver be in constant “communication” with his car? Does he need every second information about what is happening with the car - and so on.

Kobe claims that the complexity of the car dashboard began with the development of the aviation industry. For obvious reasons, pilots are forced to work with a huge set of sensors and controls. Car designers began to imitate this approach. The more items were on the dashboard of cars of the 1930s, the more luxurious it was considered. Example - Bentley Blower.

On the picture "Blower" Bentley dashboard / CC

In the following years, with the advent of new technologies, manufacturers continued to “load” cars with new interfaces — to control the air conditioner, radio receivers and other systems. Geoff Teehan, director of product design for Facebook, believes that the trend is still alive, and the design of interfaces has deteriorated precisely because of their complexity. As a result, the Porsche 918 Spyder panel, which he cites as an example, is responsible for managing more than 800 functions (but few actually use them all).

Designers from the studio ustwo note that the touch screens, which replaced the sensors and buttons, have retained all their shortcomings. Although they allow you to hide unnecessary elements, but manufacturers often do not go for it because of user expectations, which have been formed for more than a dozen years. They bring virtual analogs of familiar buttons and sensors to the screen in order not to disappoint customers who are looking for familiar interface elements.

New car interfaces

Despite stereotypes in the industry, automakers understand that users need not hundreds of buttons and displays, but safety and simplification of the process of interaction with the car. Therefore, some interfaces are either a thing of the past, or they take on a new incarnation. It is important that users are not ready to abandon the functionality of their cars. Therefore, the main task of interface designers is to accommodate all the expected features in new systems. Let us briefly consider one of the most popular areas of automotive interface development in the near future:

Augmented Reality

Of all the concepts implemented, “augmented reality as an interface” is one of the most effective. The study of the influence of AR-systems on driving safety proves that their use helps to significantly reduce the number of emergency situations. We already talked about how such systems work in our materials.

Voice Interfaces

Although user AR interfaces are focused on the windshield, they need auxiliary subsystems. For example, our WayRay Navion navigation system uses voice interfaces for control. According to research , more than half of the cars will be equipped with this feature by 2019. It is safer than touch switching. In addition, thanks to the popularity of voice assistants from Google and Apple, the voice is becoming an increasingly familiar way of communication.

Sensors and Sensors

VTouch Seoul startup equips its interactive displays with gesture control systems. This technology tracks eye and finger movements with 3D cameras. A developer of controllers Synaptics presented solutions that using the fingerprint sensors on the door handle identify the owner without a key fob for opening the door and automatically adjusting the seats, the audio system, climate control and lighting in accordance with the user's preferences.

A few words in conclusion

Automotive systems are becoming more complex and gaining more and more autonomy, and it depends on user confidence whether this technology takes root in the market. Unmanned car will not need a traditional steering wheel. But, most likely, it will still be installed in pioneering models, since the user needs this interface and will not entrust his safety to the car, without seeing the steering wheel in front of him.

The automotive industry will always need professional UI / UX designers who can build human-machine communication. UX is a professional field with one of the most impressive indicators of demand in the high-tech sector. The world of development requires professionals who can establish communication between the cars of the future and a person, eliminating all the "understatement" between them.

PS To create the interface of the projected system of augmented reality, a vacancy UI / UX designer is open in WayRay, which will interact with developers at all stages, including product testing.


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