Designing the Car Experience of the Future

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Designing the Car Experience of the Future

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Posted By Kevin Dallas
General Manager

This week I had the opportunity to attend GigaOM Roadmap in San Francisco. Together with Ford, we celebrated the 5th anniversary of Ford SYNC and 5 million SYNC enabled vehicles shipped milestone.  

The conference theme was “connected design,” exploring how design and user interface impact the experience people have interacting with connected devices.   This is a topic my team is focused on in our work with Ford and our other automotive partners as we explore how our intelligent systems strategy can help deliver a richer, more personalized experience in the car.  We are thinking about the contextual environment inside the car and how computing helps that experience for customers.

The rise of pervasive connectivity is moving us to a world where people store their content in the cloud and access it across multiple devices. The car is becoming another one of those devices and an extension of the mobile computing experience. We are focused on making the experience of transitioning content and information between the car and other devices seamless.

There is also great potential to add intelligence to the car by giving it the ability to access and analyze data so it can act on the driver’s behalf. And further down the road, predictive analytics and machine learning will make this experience even better, enabling the car to learn from the data it collects over time. We envision a future in which the car delivers a delightful experience as it predicts the needs of the driver and passengers.

Design will play a key role in delivering these kinds of experiences successfully. The car is very different from all the other devices customer use and car technology should be designed with that in mind. For example, mobile phones and tablets are designed to provide immersive experiences that draw people in, but in the car the interaction experience needs to be brief and glanceable. Speech and heads up displays are the key interfaces that belong in the car, but we see potential for other types of interfaces like facial recognition and gesture in the future. The key is to enable capabilities that are appropriate for the car with intuitive interfaces that make the interaction it as simple as possible.

For more on what the future holds as the car becomes a next gen platform, check out this interview that Ford CTO Paul Mascarenas and I did at the GigaOM Roadmap conference.

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