Every day, people spend so much time in a vehicle, that automakers are determined to make their trips safer and more enjoyable. Human-machine interface, or HMI, technology is in large part used to accomplish this.
What it looks like is different for each automaker, but there are certain tendencies regarding HMI design and development that pervade almost every brand’s mindset.
Increased use of voice
Nothing has the ability to influence how drivers engage with their car and the environment around them more than speech. Speech recognition technology has advanced significantly in recent years, and natural language may now be used to operate many aspects of a vehicle via its automotive HMI. It has progressed far beyond the early days of Bluetooth calls, allowing drivers to request directions to a destination, locate multimedia, adjust climate settings, and even make reservations or place an order at a restaurant without making a phone call.
The next emerging technology is indirect speech control, which takes inputs such as a passenger saying, “I’m cold,” and adjusts the climatic zone for their comfort.
Augmented reality (AR) does not necessitate the driver wearing any additional equipment, unlike VR video games. AR advancements have resulted in smaller, less distracting technology that smoothly integrates into a driver’s routine operations. Head-up displays (HUDs) are becoming more common, providing vital operating and navigational information to drivers without requiring them to look away from the road.
Whole-windshield augmented reality displays have been in active research for a few years. When this technology hits the mass market, it will have far-reaching ramifications for identifying and conveying hazards to drivers, as well as providing convenient instructions or identification for points of interest. If an EV’s battery is running low, the nearest charging station might be displayed in the driver’s field of vision. Automakers and suppliers can even advertise or sponsor their services that way.
While every automotive HMI development has some direct or indirect impact on safety, advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) technologies are likely the most critical. What has recently received a lot of attention is the driver’s ability to interpret sensations other than visual cues. In fact, haptic or audio cues are more easily digested in stressful situations.
Safety-focused devices, such as steering wheel vibrations or audible tones mixed with warning lights, are more likely to assist in avoiding an accident. ADAS HMI systems, which are aided by dozens of sensors and cameras placed around a vehicle, are primarily intended to save lives.
Implementing autonomous driving is a goal that automakers hope to achieve in the coming years, and HMI development, as well as companies that provide custom automotive HMI development services, such as Bamboo Apps, will play an important role in making this a reality. In the meantime, a certain number of drivers are looking to bypass some systems.
Driver monitoring systems have been a focus point in ensuring drivers are engaged with their duty as operators behind the wheel. Cameras in cars from General Motors, Tesla, Subaru, Ford, and Toyota check a driver’s attentiveness, warning them to maintain their focus on the road if they are distracted, or proposing a rest if they appear sleepy.
Improved graphics performance
While there is a growing desire for more modern-looking vehicle HMIs with more functionality, graphical engines must be improved in order to generate more detailed graphics. In the future, consumers will demand gaming-quality and 3D visuals in their vehicles. As a result, it’s critical to employ the correct design tools that enable you to construct more complex AR and 3D designs. Using current graphical APIs like Vulkan will also enable high-quality and high-performance graphics rendering on automotive SoCs.
There have been numerous articles written about the necessity of building products that try to personalise the driving experience. However, there aren’t many goods on the market that make it possible.
Unfortunately, many current HMIs do not provide personalisation. Instead, they provide customisation. These systems merely allow users to change a few preferences. However, it is a poor solution because most users do not modify default settings even when the system permits them to. When it comes to HMI design, you have the ability to provide customers with a more comfortable driving experience if you take their own preferences into account.
Here are a few instances of how learning about user behaviour can improve the user experience:
- The system determines the appropriate temperature for the user by asking them about it, and thus guarantees that the user is comfortable. On a cold day, the system prompts the user, “Are you warm enough?” “I prefer warmer,” the user may respond. The device then adjusts the temperature and saves your choice.
- The system is aware of the user’s tastes and can recommend information, places, or events that the user enjoys. For example, the system can recommend new music and songs based on the user’s likes.
- When the system detects that the user is activating seat massage under specified conditions (e.g., after a long workday, during a long-range trip, etc.), the system can activate it automatically and notify the user (e.g., “For your comfort, I’ve activated the classic massage”). Choosing a massage type is one of the more time-consuming chores in modern cars, and such clever automation can benefit users.
Users should be able to easily find relevant functionality. Discoverability (the ability to locate a certain point inside a system) and navigation experience (the ability to go to that point) should be prioritised. Many current autos require users to make way too many taps to accomplish their goals.
Such scenarios can be avoided by carefully considering your system’s information architecture. First, you must define the areas through which users will browse (i.e. vehicle settings such as suspension, climate control, entertainment system, and so on). Such locations will serve as navigation hubs, from which users can get more detailed information. Following that, you must divide the relevant functions among them and ensure that users may access the function in no more than three taps.
In the next decade, the future of driving will look drastically different. Custom car HMI development companies, as well as automakers worldwide, are continually working to increase in-car safety and operability with technology. These are just a couple of trends that many people are likely to adopt over that time period.