To kick off the first class of the last class of thesis we were asked to imagine our idea in a new perspective and ideate a new approach to the idea. Since self-driving cars has been looming over my project, I decided I would indulge and consider the conversations around the potential for no longer needing to be behind the wheel.
My first approach was by way of routine behavior and context. In the same way that Google Now shapes it's UX around time of day and location, cars could do more to cater surfacing the right things at the right times. So it's 8am, Monday, and your car has already been programmed to drive to work, as well it has begun making your favorite coffee in a Keurig type device. As you enter the car, the setting automatically react to your body temperature, and heart rate. the lighting and climate control make changes to balance. As you continue the experience, the car reacts to behaviors and patterns, yet also can be controlled via voice commands and screen based interfaces.
This experience directly caters to the commuter type person, but on a side note, something I've been toying with in my head is spontaneity. I can remember so many times the agency of changing route and discovery made my experience in a car the core of being able to go anywhere. Something I've been balancing in my head around self driving cars is the fidelity of control and exploration. When I first approached cars some of my initial ideas where around being hyper connected to the environment. Human nature is to explore, and to have the agency to do so seems like one of the more important values of being able to drive. I can only imagine then designers and engineers developing technology that almost mimics creating the course via a screen, which just seems so disconnected to me. So it is my assumption that there will be still a need to want to drive in some cases. Maybe this will be solved with the offerings. As in Full self driving, semi-self driving, and manual driving cars like that of a current range of sedans from any common car company. I wonder how this will change the landscape of infrastructure, like that of smaller cars in urban centers, and large vehicles in suburban and rural areas, will the urban centers become the focus of investment for new technologies, driving a change in development away from the suburban sprawl. END RANT
So another idea that came out of this assignment was around personalization. In way, personalization has existed in cars for some time. Preset radio stations, and seat settings. Some of this born out of a universality within the design of cars to cater to human characteristics. I think this is something that will be more and more important as cars enter the sharing culture, and connected systems will have to translate a variety of devices.
As part of the exercise, fellow classmate Jeff Gochman gave feedback to my ideas. I pulled question I would like to continue to try to answer as I move forward.
As well, a story that I think touches on some of the frustrations car owners have due to so many unknowns in this space.
Overall this exercise was super beneficial for me to get out of the headspace of the technical and think more conceptual about human behavior. This push and pull between agency and algorithms is a compelling question to pursue, not so much which one, but when and why?