How Reimagining Driving Will Reignite Our Passion for Cars
There’s little question that the future of driving is autonomous. Some experts predict that about 10 percent of cars will be autonomous by 2030. If this adoption rate seems low, it’s because 71 percent of drivers are afraid to drive them.
Part of that fear is rational: Drivers simply haven’t been widely exposed to autonomous driving experiences first hand. Their main impressions come from what they see in media, which is a mixed bag at best.
The shift to autonomous vehicles will, of
course, only take place when consumers
embrace them. And that won’t happen until
they really can not only envision the future,
but experience it in the present day.
To help address this challenge and to mark our firm’s 90th year of designing the future, Pininfarina forged a number of strategic partnerships to create an “AI-enabled autonomous driving experience cockpit test.” We call this Autonomia.
Now, you might think a simulation of autonomous driving would be boring.
You might think people would just basically sit there as their car manages traffic. Autonomia is anything but boring. From the moment drivers sits in Autonomia, they experience a fully immersive experience that incorporates visual and haptic sensations, as well as stimuli that engages the mind with non-verbal language cues that truly engage.
Yes, Autonomia simulates a wide range of driving conditions and driving environments, striking close parallels with the many conditions and environments found in the real world. But when we started designing this project, we knew the experience isn’t only about what happens through the windshield, but the vehicle’s entire internal environment.
Most importantly, we can collect data.
Now, most autonomous driving Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems collect data about the world outside the vehicle–traffic, road conditions, signage, etc. And this is important, as the AI needs to learn how to navigate the various situations to be found on the road. But Autonomia is different, collecting data about the passenger’s experience into a given AI platform that will provide insight into the occupant’s mindset and reactions, allowing us to refine—and even perfect—the travelling experience.
Inspire car makers and mobility stakeholders
Our goal is to make it both comfortable and trustworthy, and ultimately to create an experience that reminds the driver of how they drive.
This experience-design process was conceived to inspire car makers to consider the mental/psychological blocks, mindsets, and habits that their customers have developed over the course of a lifetime to provide a basis or starting point for designing the vehicles of the future. Rather than creating autonomous cars in a bubble and hoping that their customers will see value in them, autonomous car manufacturers can leverage Pininfarina’s know-how to create smarter, people-centric designs.
Pininfarina developed the current cockpit
prototype in conjunction with Art Group and
Siili-auto, and this is the most cutting-edge
version produced to date.
There are still many ideas that we have yet to integrate into the platform, such as dynamic body parts, realistic surround sound, and a VR headset to make the simulation even more immersive and impactful. We have also proposed emotional and behavioural interpretations and sentiment analysis to get an even more complete understanding of how users feel using an autonomous car in specific circumstances.
While the concepts of Autonomia are still in development, the psychological and practical worth of the platform is clear:
Pininfarina is pioneering a new way to design
and think about the culture surrounding
the autonomous car sector.
Looking forward to talk further and perform better design together.
David Carvalho – SVP Experience Design & Industrial Design