Hyundai’s Connected Car Evolution Continues With In-Car Payments

Hyundai Motor America recently partnered with Xevo to demonstrate an in-car payment concept that would allow drivers to pay for gas, coffee, food and parking without leaving the vehicle. Chevron, Texaco, ParkWhiz and Applebee’s have already signed on as merchants for the potential payment solution.
“The dining case is particularly interesting because those fast casual restaurants are a place where the infrastructure is there already,” said Cason Grover, senior group manager of vehicle technology planning for Hyundai Motor America. “You see those carryout-only lanes, so in a sense they’re kind of ahead.”
Grover said that parking places are exploring options for dedicated lanes, and speculated that chip-equipped license plates could allow for faster service via Bluetooth or DSRC. If, for example, a gas station could identify a vehicle the moment a driver pulls up to the pump, payment could be facilitated automatically.
“It adds convenience today,” he said. “As that infrastructure builds, we’re ready, so the value grows even more as the merchants do more and more.”

Payment Options

Hyundai and Xevo are developing the Hyundai Digital Wallet payment platform that will allow customers to store their payment information. The system goes beyond credit and debit, allowing other options (such as gift cards) to be incorporated.
“Being able to allocate which payment solutions that you would want to add to this Hyundai Wallet is really what we’re talking about being able to do,” said Paul Galle, VP of automotive programs in business development at Xevo.
The specific details are still being worked out, so it’s not yet clear how this will work. When asked if a prepaid card could be scanned directly into the automobile, Galle said he wasn’t sure Xevo and Hyundai would go down that path. More than likely the cards will be added to the wallet in a more traditional manner.

Data Sharing

In addition to its partnership with Xevo, Hyundai also recently joined the Verisk Data Exchange, which will allow customers to share their data for usage-based insurance programs.
Collectively, that’s a lot of information that will pass through Hyundai’s connected automobiles.
“I think certainly over time, as we work toward production we talk about how we share data,” said Grover. “We have some visibility into consumer preferences – who goes where the most. Maybe our brand, for some reason there’s a correlation with this particular merchant that we brought on board. If we see a lot of usage, maybe there’s some co-branding opportunity.”

Vehicle to Cloud

V2X encompasses V2V (vehicle to vehicle) and V2I (vehicle to infrastructure), but Grover is also looking at a third component.
“There’s a whole separate piece that’s really vehicle to cloud, or cloud to vehicle,” he said. “Using connectivity for possibly vastly enhancing our traffic offering or other data use for navigation, that’s the kind of thing I definitely see in the future.”
Looking beyond data that consumers willingly share, Hyundai is also curious about what could be done with anonymized data.
“As with probably every other OEM, we’re investigating that as well,” said Grover. “Genericized data is something we’re certainly studying. And that’s something we want to look at and make sure it’s within our privacy principals.”

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.

OPTIS Webinar: Take the Lead on the HUD Revolution in Automotive

Involved in Augmented Reality development? Discover OPTIS virtual prototyping solution dedicated to the development of automotive Head-Up Displays.
Head Up Displays will certainly become fundamental in the coming years. Firstly because they are a major safety feature and above all, by inspiring driver’s confidence, they are essential to ease the adoption of Autonomous Driving.
As a new feature, HUDs, in particular Augmented Reality ones, require innovation in the design and optimization, with specific attention to Perceived Quality, as the image is permanently in the line of sight of the driver. Not to mention that you still have to face the traditional constraints of the automotive industry, from frequent design changes to cross-department collaboration.
OPTIS’ dedicated HUD Solution supports you during the virtual prototyping of your HUDs from entry to high-end models. From optical design, through analysis to dynamic visualization, discover how its unique simulation capabilities and ease of use support rapid HUD design iterations, automatic optimization and delivery according to your specifications and Perceived Quality targets.
Join our webinar and discover how to test and validate the HUD of your future vehicles with OPTIS Physics Based Simulation solution.

Webinar speakers:

Cedric BellangerCedric Bellanger

Product Marketing Manager

Ludovic ManillierLudovic Manillier

Business Development – Augmented Reality / HUD

Webinar time and date:

The webinar will be held 2 times on June 12th to give you the chance to join us when it suits you most.

June 12th, 2018 – 10 to 10:30 AM CEST

June 12th, 2018 – 5 to 5:30 PM CEST

Find out more about OPTIS' dedicated HUD solution:

Lite-On Technology Success Story: Lite-On accelerates the development process of HUD products with SPEOS.

OPTIS and EB combine their expertise in automotive solutions to provide a unique, commercial off-the-shelf solution that can be used by carmakers to develop and assess sensor fusion and augmented reality content.

Say Farewell to Private Car Ownership

Autonomous driving has not been established yet but still the day may come when private cars will disappear from the streets completely. It is one of the numerous debates within future mobility: Will privately-owned cars exist in future? Many studies confirm that the traditional status symbol will vanish – slowly but surely.

Transportation Services & Private Cars

Last year the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) has already stated that the demand for new cars is decreasing, especially in places where transport services like Uber and Lyft are established. Several car manufactures are currently setting up similar models pushing their transition to mobility service providers. The study shows that people tend to buy new cars when there are no transport services given. This means that the mobility offer in a specific area defines the locals relation to mobility.

Changing Insurance

The insurance industry spotted this trend as well. Various insurance companies are already offering specific telematics rates including discounts for people who avoid accidents for a long period of time or a certain number of driven kilometers. This caused many critics to forecast the quick end of motor vehicle insurance. This scenery additionally alters with the development of autonomous driving. Experts suppose that with autonomous cars established there will be less accidents. But the ones that happen will cause higher damage costs because of the sensors that have to be repaired or replaced for vehicle control.

Swiss Re: Fall of Insurance Fees?

Swiss Re already expects the number of privately insured cars to drop sharply – their analysis predicts a decrease of about 15%. This also impacts the car insurance model, which, according to Swiss Re, soon won’t be profitable anymore. Just like car manufacturers Swiss Re sees the big money within the data that is collected by autonomous cars. As a result Swiss Re started to collaborate with the japanese conglomerate Softbank to in terms of telematics. More details on the deal are yet to be provided.

About the author:

David Fluhr is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site:

Report CES 2018: Automotive HMI Focus

This report covers the CES 2018. Focus of this report is on the automotive HMIs shown at the show. The information was collected by visiting the booths in the North Hall of the event location and booths in the other halls and location, that are automotive related. Besides analyzing the exhibits, discussions with booth personnel where held where possible und useful. This report reflects my personal and professional opinion on the technologies discussed. Please let me know your thoughts!

General Trends

The CES 2018 was located at Las Vegas, NV and opened the doors from January 8 to 12, 2018. It was, of course, the biggest ever. More than 4,000 exhibitors shared 26 million square feet exhibition space. 180,000 visitors, 58,000 from outside the USA, attended the show. This year’s show was the 50th. The massive attendance led to extended waiting times, the badge pickup was an exercise that took at least 30min. Restrooms, food stalls, and shuttle busses where occupied by long lines. The CES became too big to fail, but it also too big to be fun.

Automotive Trends

Until about 10 years ago the automotive part of the CES was out of the major focus. The North Hall, traditionally the location for automotive related booths, was occupied by aftermarket companies, selling massive amplifiers, speakers, and cables. Companies like Pioneer and Kenwood with a strong portfolio of aftermarket devices and OEM supply where present as well.
With the growing integration of electronics into vehicles and vehicles into networks, the character of the North Hall changed radically. Major OEMs like Mercedes, Hyundai, or Toyota and large suppliers like Continental, Delphi, or Denso displayed their technologies. In 2017 the suppliers had the most exciting and innovative booths, the OEMs kept a little lower profile. This year the major trends were:

Automotive innovations where also shown in Central Hall (Bosch, Sony) and in tents on the Central Plaza (Faurecia, NXP, Valeo, Here)
The aftermarket companies are back
The OEMs had more exciting innovations than the suppliers

Automotive HMI Trends

CASE: Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric

The CASE mantra as used by Mercedes, BMW calls it ACES, is supposed to reflect the major trends of the automotive industry. It stands for:

Connected: cars are connected with the internet, the cloud, the infrastructure, other cars and the users
Autonomous: vehicle automate more and more functionality. This basically happens since cars are developed and produced. Hardly anyone today knows how to fine tune an ignition or moves a windscreen wiper by hand. Automatic gearboxes, rain sensors, and automatic headlights are innovations of the past. The new step is the automation of the core driving activity. Lateral and longitudinal control of the vehicle is taken over by machines. This trend will influence the entire automotive industry, technology development, use cases, insurance policies, legislation and many more
Shared & Services: vehicle ownership will fade in the future. A few users will own their individual cars, but the majority will share vehicle and experience mobility as a service
Electric: the end of the combustion engine will come sooner or later. Burning fossil fuel for mobility has its limits. How soon we will reach these limits, first of all availability of fuel and CO2 emissions is unclear. But electric engines will play a prominent role in future vehicle concepts. Today’s electric vehicles do not reflect the full potential the alternative power train offers. We are where we were 120 years ago, when we removed horses from carriages and replaced them by engine. The overall vehicle design remained the same. Today we replace combustion engines by electric ones, but keep the vehicle concept as it is

One or more aspects of the CASE mantra was reflected on every automotive booth. From sensor companies like Valens to service providers like Elektro Bit, suppliers like Denso to OEMs like Mercedes this mantra steers thinking and acting in the automotive industry.

Displays Everywhere

Almost every showcase, seat box, and prototype car at the show included a high number of displays. Trend is a large display extended over the entire dash board, often combined with additional displays in the center stack or head up displays. The big open question remains: how do we use all this HMI real estate we create in cars? Is this a way to create real value for users? Or are we just packing all the technology into vehicle because it is available? Future will tell us. And beyond HMI///// will be a part of the answer.

Illuminated Surfaces

Illuminated surfaces where shown in a few concepts. First of all, this is a decorative element, creating atmospheres and environments for drivers. Ambient light is a trend in automotive interiors, illuminated surfaces are the next step.

These technologies shall be used as HMI components as well. They can transfer subtle information, small changes, reaching unconscious parts of our cognition and decision making. An additional way of information transfer will be activated. Blind spot warnings will be a core use case, extending the visual range of the driver.

Windows as Screens

Using window areas as screen will allow new ways of communication between car, driver and environment. From advertisements, delivery services to emergency warning use cases are possible. In the interior the use of windows to allow augmented reality, meaning the overlay of the real world with additional information or entertainment scenarios in high levels of autonomous driving are definitely use cases.

Personal Highlights

As every year Rinspeed showed a highly innovative, exciting concept. This year the SNAP was presented. The vehicle has two separate parts. The so-called skateboard is the lower part of the car. It contains the electric drive train and the driving related electronics. This part of the vehicle is supposed to be shared. The skateboards will drive around in streets autonomously, charge themselves when needed, and may be called by a smart phone app or a PC software.
The so-called PODs are the upper parts of the vehicles. They are personally owned, meaning, I have my pod, it is equipped with my favorite entertainment electronics, communication channels, my preferred leather seats, my artificial intelligence robot and so on. An HMI on demand was integrated. The interaction between user and vehicle is adapted to various use cases.
After a skateboard arriving at my premises the Pod is connected to the skateboard. The two build a complete, autonomous vehicle, carrying me to my destination. Arriving there the Pod is disconnected and used by another user to move his or her Pod.
This concept combines personal ownership of the components that I see and touch in a vehicle, with shared drive trains. The skateboards contain the components that out date quickly. Since they are shared and drive almost constantly, their life time will be limited to a few years. The Pods will have a lifetime of 10 or years, so the personalized part of the vehicles remains in the users’ ownership for much longer.
As all the concepts of Rinspeed: highly innovative. Completely out of the box. Exciting.

MBUX by Mercedes

The MBUX by Mercedes was explicitly not shown as a show case or a future concept, but as the HMI solution for the upcoming A-Class vehicle. The trend towards large display was reflected as well as a multi modal interaction. The concept includes the cluster instrument and an infotainment display attached. The impression of one large display is created. The HMI concept is fully integrated. Display content can be adapted and moved on the HMI real estate. Content and design of the cluster can be adapted to different use cases. The graphic design uses one common design language. The user may select his or her preferred version from a number of different design schemes.

Interactions are possible using steering wheel devices, a touch pad mounted between the front seats and a touch screen for the infotainment area. The steering wheel devices contain a few hard keys and two small touch devices on either side of the steering wheel. Voice interaction should be possible as well, but was not show cased, probably due to the background noise in the exhibition hall.
The concept picks up existing HMI trends and puts them into an innovative product. The fact, that this will be on roads is exciting on side but frightening on the other. Mercedes will have done many user studies and analysis, but I personally doubt, that the complexity of the interface will be fully understood by all users. The questions where and how can I control what will be permanently open while driving. Probably driver will select one way of interaction, ignoring the others to feel comfortable with the functionality.
But: a big step forward, showing the chances of HMI technologies smartly integrated.

Brain to Car Interface by Nissan

Nissan showcased a brain to car interface. The idea of controlling a technology by using brain waves exists since a few years. Up to now only a few laboratory prototypes have been developed. Technological hurdles like the measurements and interpretation of data, where too big to turn this HMI technology into reality. Nissan claims to pass these hurdles. They showed a seat box with a helmet measuring brain waves. These are used to predict driver intentions and support decision making.
Due to technical problems of the seat box it was not possible to see a demonstration. If it shall work the way promised, it may be disruptive in the HMI development, not only in vehicles!

The Byton: is that the Way into Future?

The Byton show car was discussed heavily before the show and the booth was occupied almost anytime with a large crowd. At first and from the out side this car seems to be just one more mid-size SUV with an electric drive train. The design is average, nicely done but far from exciting, outstanding, or unusual.
The interior is dominated by a huge screen covering the entire dashboard. This reflects the trends of this show, was presented by Rinspeed already in 2017, but here it is moved one step closer to reality. In contrast to this the poorly mounted screens for the rear seat entertainment indicate the front row focus of the car. Byton made one more step towards the integration of the consumer world into the vehicle. A certain focus is on the health status of the driver, connectivity to the smart home, and communication with external instances.
Open questions remain on the use of the large display in the vehicle. Is that really the way into future? What will it be used for? Plus, that we have seen many companies like Faraday Future, Mindset or Coda Automotive, that announced innovative vehicles, but failed to deliver. Let’s keep an eye on this!


The CES is the number one show on electronics, communication, consumer devices, no doubt. The automotive part grows in importance, future trends beyond horsepower and torque become visible here. The world will be connected in the future, and the car will play a core role in this network. You will see me there in 2019. And I until then will learn to life with long waiting lines everywhere!

About Peter Rössger and beyond HMI/////:

HMI Guru. HMI Expert. HMI Punk. Speaker. Author. Visionary. Innovator. Inspirator. Creator. Peter Rössger is founder of beyond HMI/////. We focus on creating knowledge on HMIs, usability and user experience for the automotive industry, the Industrial Internet, mobile machinery, and software applications. We perform studies on usability and user experience. We use our knowledge to develop HMI concepts for our customers.
Until early 2015 Peter was Business Development Director at TES Electronic Solutions GmbH. During his 12 years with Harman Automotive he created HMI concepts for automotive OEMs like Mercedes, Porsche, Toyota, Hyundai, PSA, Ferrari, and Harley Davidson. For Daimler he worked 4 years in driver-vehicle interaction. Peter holds a doctorial degree in Human Factors Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin. He published various papers on usability, user experience, cross cultural HMIs, and autonomous driving. He lives at Böblingen near Stuttgart, Berlin, and at Port d’Andratx, Mallorca.

Car Infotainment: Beneficial or just distracting?

Distraction is one of the main threats in modern cars. According to a study by the University of Utah infotainment systems are particular dangerous in traffic. The researchers even brought into play the idea of prohibiting in-car infotainment.
Nowadays most modern cars have an infotainment system accessible via its cockpit. They provide features such as smartphone synchronization, navigation or music selection. And the industry is constantly thinking about how to improve them and make the controls more intuitive for the driver.
As long as we don’t have fully automated vehicles on the streets the driver will have to step in over and over again to manage infotainment applications.

Study on Car Infotainment Distraction

The University of Utah had already conducted research on driver distraction, but the recent results once more underline the assumption that infotainment increases the risk of accidents. For the latest project the researchers analyzed 30 different vehicle models built in 2017.
During the analysis test subjects were asked to use the infotainment system whilst driving one of the respective cars. The test persons should initiate a call, send a short message, tune the radio and enter a navigation destination. The drivers were allowed to use the whole spectrum of technologies from voice control to touch display. The organizers developed a scale to compare different distraction levels like weak (listen to music) or strong (do mental calculation).

Study Findings

The research team found out that all activities generally take too much time. Entering navigation data took the longest, both via voice or touch input. It took the test persons 40 seconds on average to finish the task. At a speed of 50 km/h this would mean 500+ meters with an inattentive driver in the cockpit. Second longest task was short text messaging with 30 seconds.
In conclusion there isn’t a safe infotainment system at all. Each one causes long distraction spans in traffic making infotainment a hazard for the driver that could be eliminated with the rise of autonomous vehicles. Read more about the study here.

About the author:

David Fluhr is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site:

Will Car Insurance survive Autonomous Vehicles?

Is AD the End for Car Insurance?

As mobility is evolving towards vehicle automation, car insurance companies are rethinking their business models. Telematics car insurance for example is not a completely new thing. They are offered by several providers in the USA and UK, there are also similar offerings in Germany. State Farm from the US already predicted the end of the traditional car insurance in 2016. The company wanted to shift its focus towards data analytics. Let’s take it a step further: If autonomous vehicles do not cause accidents anymore, do we still need car insurance at all? As the automotive industry is working on the development of fully automated vehicles the insurance sector has to prepare for a fundamental change.

New Details on the German Draft Law

The German Bundestag is currently discussing a draft law on autonomous driving. Although they have already implemented minor changes, it is clear that the law will be advantageous for the industry and the car manufacturers. The adjustments have no influence on the bill’s tone in favor of the companies. It states that the person is allowed to do other activities but urges to stay aware of any potential dangers around him. From my point of view this is contradictory and will lead to numerous lawsuits that will define the law. Nevertheless the human driver will be the liable party for the time being.

Root Insurance for Tesla

This March the US-company “Root Insurance” announced that it’ll offer rates for autonomous vehicles from now on. The idea is to reward drivers who invest in ADAS. That is why owners of partially automated cars get special discounts on car insurance fees. At the moment the range of automated cars is rather limited, so most Root Insurance customers are Tesla drivers.
In order to get the insurance users have to download an app that collects and analyzes car movement data. For a certain amount of time the user is driving under observation to evaluate his or her driving style. Depending on their style and risk appetite the customers get a personal discount. With a Tesla and the adequate driving style you can ideally save about 40% of the initial insurance fee.

Allianz Insurance for Autonomous Driving

Speaking of Germany Allianz was the first insurance company to take the plunge into new technology. Together with car manufacturer BMW the company wants to initiate a work group to develop insurance details that will be taken up to insure automated BMW models from 2021 on. Another common objective is to develop a tool for data analysis, e.g. when it comes to accidents. USA and China will be attractive markets for data analysis products due to legal regulations. In contrast to Germany there is no owner liability in those countries.
Allianz also signed a deal with Easymile, a French shuttle manufacturer. The startup is producing self-driving shuttles that drive at low speed are already tested worldwide. Within the framework of the cooperation Matthias Wünsche, Member of the Board of Management of Global Automotive at Allianz, said: “Autonomous driving will be a key paradigm shift for automotive insurers and we have the ambition to be at the leading edge of this topic. The partnership with EasyMile is the consequent result of our Automotive Innovation Center translating technological advancements into innovative insurance solutions.” Allianz is preparing for the future – for insurance models regarding autonomous cars. The cooperation with BMW and Easymile are linked with the goal of making the first experiences in that sector.

About the author:

David Fluhr is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site:

Car HMI USA 2017: How will Consumers fall in Love with Driverless Cars?

Originally published on 2025AD – The Platform for Automated Driving
The challenge is clear: in an automated vehicle, human and machine must form a relationship. But just how? 2025AD attended the expert conference Car HMI USA 2017 in Detroit – and found surprising and unconventional answers.
In a way, Detroit is a very symbolic place to host a conference on the future of driving. In the heydays of the American car industry in the mid-20th century, the city was prospering. Ever since then, a long and slow decline of the industry accompanied a long and slow decay of Motor City. But since the end of the financial crisis, the U.S. “Big Three” – Ford, GM and Chrysler, have bounced back. And so has Detroit. Walking through the city these days, you can sense an optimistic mood. Public parks are being refurbished, urban areas are getting a long needed renovation. And while the city still lacks a functional public transportation system, people are happily hailing their Uber cab to get from one bar to the next. Or to Dearborn, a Detroit suburb.
Not only is Dearborn home of Ford’s worldwide headquarters. Last week, it was also home to Car HMI USA 2017 – an expert conference on user experience in the vehicles of the future. With cars becoming increasingly connected and automated, how will humans and machines interact? And how can a safe and comfortable driving experience be achieved? Those were the central questions high-ranking industry experts from OEMs, suppliers and science discussed.

Creating a Human Robot Relationship

One common theme dominated the agenda as well as the discussions during coffee breaks: trust comes first. Only if that is given, users will feel comfortable in an automated vehicle. Or as Cyriel Diels, a human factors researcher at Coventry University, put it: „Car and user must form a relationship – we need to evolve from Human Machine Interaction (HMI) to Human Robot Relationship (HRR).”
That is especially true since car drivers today obviously feel overwhelmed by the complexity of current HMI technology. To drive home his message, Ford manager James Forbes presented the evolution of Ford’s explorer vehicle between 1998 and 2017: the number of steering wheel buttons more than quadrupled to 22.

Evolution of the Ford Explorer: complexity is on the rise. (Photo: James Forbes / Ford)

Do customers really understand them? The answer is probably no. “98% of drivers don’t understand all dashboard lamps,” said Ketan Dande, Senior Diagnostic Software Engineer at Faraday Future. No wonder: U.S. car buyers on average spend only a couple of minutes talking to the vehicle dealer before the purchase – certainly not enough time to explain all HMI features. And since it is not likely drivers will thoroughly study the manual before using the car, one conclusion must be: the HMI has to be intuitive and easy to use – especially in critical situations.

Level 3 Automation: The Nightmare of all Carmakers

One critical use case heavily discussed at the event: the transition process between manual and machine driving in semi-automated cars. Level 2 automation can already be found on our roads today, for instance in Tesla’s Model S. It has already proven itself to be very tricky. While the car is able to take over all driving tasks for defined use cases, the driver must constantly monitor the road – which many users not seem to take serious. Cars with level 3 automation are also able to perform all driving tasks in certain situations, for example in smooth traffic on the highway. However, the driver doesn’t need to monitor the road at all times anymore, just needs to be ready to resume control. If the car gets into a situation beyond its capabilities, it must notify the driver so he can take over.

Car HMI USA 2017 took place in Dearborn, a Detroit suburb.
Car HMI USA 2017 took place in Dearborn, a Detroit suburb.

How can you keep the driver in the loop? You could feel an almost tangible aura of uncertainty at the conference on how to solve this task. What makes it so challenging? The looming danger is mode confusion – a problem known from aviation. The driver must receive clear and comprehensible information who is in charge of driving at all times. A recent study showed that it took drivers in transfer conditions four to six, sometimes up to 16 seconds to anticipate a latent hazard.
Joe Klesing, Executive Director Autonomous Steering & Comfort at supplier Nexteer, suggests a threefold approach. First, using in-vehicle cameras for gaze and head tracking to determine if the driver is ready to take over. If he fell asleep or has turned around to feed the kids, he clearly needs an urgent auditory appeal. If his eyes are focused on the road anyway, a less pressing sound could be sufficient.
Second, a head-up display directing attention towards the potential hazard. This makes it transparent for the driver why he needs to take over. And third, a steering wheel retracting while in autonomous mode. If the driver wants to resume control, he must actively pull the steering wheel so it moves back towards the driver. With this haptic cue, mode confusion can be avoided.

Distracted Driving - a modern Curse

In that context, another problem that needs to be tackled is distracted driving. According to NHTSA data, almost 3,500 Americans were killed in 2015 by distracted driving – and the number further rose in 2016. Distractor number one: the smartphone. Risk group number one: teenagers and young adults. That is why all OEMs and suppliers are looking for ways to reduce that hazard source.

What non-driving tasks consumers admit to doing while driving (Photo: Harris Insights & Analytics).

Interestingly, it seemed a foregone conclusion among conference speakers that teenagers will not be willing to give up their phone while driving. According to Carl D. Marci, Chief Neuroscientist at Nielsen, digital natives on average switch devices 27 times in one hour, for instance between the television and their smartphone. “People have developed new habits in the living room that they won’t drop in the car,” Marci stated. The consequence: tests have shown that in surprising takeover situations, it takes people longer to react if they were using their smartphone at that moment. A solution supplier Valeo suggests: smartphone screen mirroring integrated into the instrument cluster and operable through the steering wheel. With the screen in a higher viewing field and the hands free, this accelerates the driver’s reaction.

Will we skip Level 3 entirely?

While all these suggestions might facilitate the handover process, level 3 automation is still considered a tough nut to crack. Too tough? Most industry insiders at Car HMI USA got a rather stern look when asked about this issue. Who will be liable if a level 3 vehicle causes an accident? Driver or OEM? “The first major accident in the U.S. is going to be a big game changer,” said a senior engineer of a large OEM during a workshop, indicating that courts might have to find an answer to that question. To make matters even more difficult, international traffic authorities are expected to push for common standards for level 3 takeover processes. A consumer from Europe should intuitively be able to use a level 3 car in Asia or America and vice versa. A solution that is being seriously discussed: skipping level 3 entirely – a step that Google . “Until fully autonomous cars are deployed, we might have level 2 in urban areas and level 4 on highways,” said Oliver Rumpf-Steppat, Head of Product Requirements, Development & Connected Drive at BMW North America. Volvo and Ford have already announced they will skip level 3, with other OEMs expected to follow suit.

Automated driving will offer new possibilities for car interior design (Photo: Cyriel Diels / Coventry University).

Once we reach level 5, new challenges of designing a car will arise. Warren Schramm, technical director and design consultancy Teague, questioned a 120 year old basic assumption of the car industry: that cars are built for the driver. “We will have to ask ourselves: what do we build for, if not driving?” Once steering wheel, the separation of seats and a middle console become obsolete and electric drivetrains are standard, much more space will be available – as recently demonstrated by Volkswagen’s Sedric concept vehicle.

Bold Business Ideas for Driverless Car Services

“The cabin needs to be completely reconfigurable. Flexibility is paramount,” said Schramm. He predicted that virtually any mobility service will be possible with purpose built vehicles. “Go to sleep, wake up in Vegas,” he called his idea for a rolling hotel room. “Or what if you could hail your shopping experience – a driving boutique.” Hairdresser or dentist appointments, teleconferences – there are countless possibilities to make use of the time gained during the ride. Schramm presented his most unconventional idea with a mischievous smile: “What if TSA picked you up?” The idea: Why not use the ride to the airport to get the security check done in the car? This self-driving shuttle would be equipped with security staff, passport and body scanners. This may sound a little outlandish at first. However, knowing how time-consuming these security checks are, it is not hard to imagine finding customers for this business idea.

Factors that add to a comfort experience in automated cars (Photo: Cyriel Diels / Coventry University).

For that to happen, one very human problem will need to be overcome in an autonomous car: motion sickness. If people don’t steer themselves anymore, it becomes harder for them to anticipate where they are actually going. Adding to that are tasks like reading in the smartphone and alternative seating arrangements in the car. Schramm suggested implementing frosted glasses: “If people are less aware of the motion, sickness can be greatly reduced.”
For the moment, this admittedly seems like a distant problem. After two lively days, the conference ended with a spirit of optimism. “The key user experiences are the moments you fall in love with your car,” Ford Manager James Forbes had said. The challenges may not be small, but the knowledge is there to create HMIs that people will embrace. Good prospects for the automotive industry. And therefore, good prospects for Detroit – the Motor City.
Skipping level 3 automation? TSA picking you up? What do you think of the expert ideas presented at Car HMI USA 2017? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Survey Report: Car HMI Industry Trends

The Car HMI Industry Survey uncovers insights into HMI architecture and future interaction and delivers answers to the question how vehicle automation changes HMI requirements. More than 200 Software Engineers, UX-, Telematics- and Navigation-Experts took part to shape a valid forecast of what HMI is going to look like in the future.

Key Facts

  • 25% of the participants consider BMW as the manufacturer with the most innovative HMI concept.
  • Avoiding driver distraction is the most significant challenge for HMI (32%).
  • Human centered design and functional HMI integration are the most frequently mentioned research needs (59%).

Download the full survey report “Car HMI – UX Redefined” for free here and get to know professional trend forecasts by OEM’s, Tier 1 suppliers and researchers.

Driver workload assessments – Case Study by Denso

Have a look at Denso’s presentation on driver workload management held at the Automotive Apps Evolution conference. The vehicle is becoming an increasingly complex environment because of more devices being brought into car to interact with. The consequence: many reported crashes involving electronic device-related distractions. Driver workload management is one approach to cope with increasing demands for drivers on the road via HMI systems.

Key Learning Points

  • Road infrastructure is becoming increasingly demanding (traffic density, greater use of signage, road structure complexity).
  • Society’s concern: increased driver workload and distraction lead to more accidents.
  • A smart HMI solution would be a workload manager with 2 key functions: assessment of the driver’s current workload level & control the HMI to support but not overload the driver.
  • Minimizing driver distraction whilst optimizing the driver and passenger experience and at the same time is a real opportunity for intelligent design concepts.
  • GENIVI Alliance is already driving the broad adoption of an in-vehicle infotainment open-source development platform.

View the full Case Study “Driver workload assessment and safe management of in-car apps” and learn how Denso’s approaches the potential threat of driver workload increase.