Design Challenge:
create an interface for the car of the future

When redesigning the car interface of the future, our team focused on the car's fundamental purpose: getting from point A to point B. Drivers spend their time in the car today answering e-mails, checking texts, and changing the music, with their eyes constantly straying off the road, creating a dangerous environment. As a result, 90% of car accidents are caused by human errors.

We came to the conclusion that driving is the distraction. We found a way to eliminate driver distraction and create a safer, more collaborative future. We envisioned a calendar-driven autonomous car. A distraction-free, productivity-oriented vehicle with a dynamic interior. With this concept, we can remove the issues related to parking, traffic congestion and (most importantly) distracted drivers. Thereby creating a safer transportation environment. 


A collaborative future

Society is moving toward a more shared economy. The auto industry will have to follow this trend. This creates the opportunity for transportation to not only be shared, but also be customized to the individual. Our goal was to retain a personalized aspect to this shared vehicle. 

The car as a dynamic canvas

Having a versatile car interior was a core value of our design. This space allows for the interior to become a canvas for the user. One aspect of this, is the side windows, which can act as displays for the users content. The chair-mounted display system allows the user to connect their data to the system via their personal device. This data can then be accessed through this display, or be displayed on the windows. The interior can be re-configured so passengers can rotate and shift their seats in any direction. Creating either a social or private environment. 

The calendar as a steering wheel

TIme allows us to move in space, so we thought it was appropriate to make the calendar into the steering wheel. The timeline keeps track of the users itinerary, allowing them to control their destinations throughout their daily activities. Users can interact with points on the timeline to do such things as add or change events, get reccomendations, and invite friends. The timeline lets users move back and forth in time to easily get an overview of their planned activities. 

Interactive map view

An interactive map is closely tied to the calendar, reflecting the users schedule via routes. A condensed version of the timeline is always displayed at the top of the screen, alerting users to upcoming stops and ETA's. The map itself can be controlled by voice command and show users requested points of interest in their vicinity, which they can then add to their calendar. 




What is the future of the car industry?

When approaching the project, we first conducted detailed research of how current and upcoming car interfaces are implemented. Additionally, we used our research to speculate the future of the car industry. Many companies, including Google, are investing in the self-driving car and this is an area we wanted to explore further. 

Goodbye, steering wheel!

The interface in the context of a fully autonomous car is an unexplored territory, and we wanted to take on this challenge. All humans are existing on the same timeline: it is universal. Thus, we decided a timeline calendar was the best way to drive the car. A car that syncs with our schedules, knows where and when we need to be. The car becomes a seamless part of our lives.

How does the role of the user change?

We aimed to explore how the role of the user changes once driving is no longer a factor. Since the distraction of driving has been eliminated, the car should become a way for users to travel without interrupting their day. It should be dynamic and customizable to the users life-- a place for productivity and fun. 

Designing the interface

Not only would the system sync with a users calendar, but it would be an extension of a user's personal device. Thus we wanted the car, along with its interface, to be a canvas for the users. Our clean and minimal interface reflects this idea. 




Three weeks, Fall 2013


Joe Kohlmann, Eric Freistadt, Charlotte Ziob, Chris Hart


Axel Roesler


Research, ideation, sketches, use-case scenarios, wireframes, interface design



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