Rethinking mobility on two wheels
Tangity and Star have teamed up to reimagine the automotive industry and deliver a safer yet more innovative and intuitive driving experience for the future.
As for many, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy. So it comes as no surprise that these turbulent times weren’t ideal conditions for the first collaboration between Tangity and Star.
At Tangity, we humanize complexity through design. We put together ideas that are inspired by people’s needs and emotions and use state-of-the-art tech to bring intuitive and tangible solutions to life. Star, on the other hand is known for creating outstanding in-car experiences harnessing cutting-edge technology and an in-depth understanding of the customer journey across four dedicated Automotive & Mobility service lines: human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and infotainment, rapid innovation, applications and platforms.
After an in-person kick-off with our client, we had to face the first lockdown. Despite the obstacles, we wanted to deliver an innovative mobility solution that would lead to a safer, more intuitive driving experience even when working remotely.
By combining our strengths and resources, we give our clients access to a vast range of experience and knowledge, complementing each other in our capabilities, regional presence, and partner networks. For our clients, this means moving from an idea to the final local solution with a global approach, more speed, higher reliability, and efficiency.
Although our project’s details are still confidential, our teams have recently met up virtually to share insights on what moves the automotive and mobility industries’ evolution, covering topics such as the rise of tech-driven industry partnerships, the value of design in creating HMIs, key user insights and lessons from the collaboration as well as the future of mobility.
Mobility manufacturers are shifting their focus to what’s happening inside the vehicle
The mobility industry is constantly changing. Self-driving cars, electric vehicles, and car-sharing services are just a few of the developments taking over traditional concepts of ownership, leading to the question: will we still refer to ourselves as “drivers” in the future?
In recent years, original equipment manufacturers (OEM) have started to pay closer attention to what’s happening inside the car. Moving away from hardware specs such as steering wheel responsiveness and maximum speeds, we are now witnessing a higher focus on other experiences such as assistive technologies that are less and less about driving — all changes that are shaping the industry immensely, after years in which companies focused mainly on mechanical interactions and neglected to evolve and improve the communication between the machine and the driver.
With today’s digital transformation, we see the traditional automotive landscape completely reversed. OEMs are finally embracing technology providers as partners to deliver what consumers want and expect — digitally enabled, holistic automotive experiences.
Designing frictionless relationships between drivers and vehicles
When we talk about mobility, we don’t just mean cars. We think of mobility as a range of vehicle types, each with unique opportunities and constraints.
Let’s take a motorcycle as an example. This two-wheeled experience differs significantly from driving a car, doesn’t it? When riding on two wheels, factors like the weather, other vehicles, and noise all reduce the attention riders can pay to their vehicle’s innovations. Cars, on the contrary, allow a much greater level of complexity two-wheelers can only provide at the expense of putting the rider at risk.
This is why it is so vital to take the cognitive load into account. Whether we speak of two or four wheels, designing great HMIs requires eliminating friction anywhere possible to guarantee the driver’s safety. It’s about facilitating the communication between the rider and their vehicle by enabling new interactions that aren’t only intuitive but leverage other senses besides one’s sight.
Most importantly, HMI interactions have to be seamless and complement the driving experience. Random beeps and tones which drivers cannot comprehend won’t cut it. People should be able to jump in (or onto) their vehicles and understand what’s in front of them right from the beginning. Good design makes this possible.
During our extensive research and analysis, we discovered the main factors that influence how consumers make purchasing decisions in today’s society.
Analyzing services, we noticed that people have an increasing interest in peer-to-peer platforms, ride-sharing, and experience tracking. Moreover, we discovered that the most suitable way to motivate prospective buyers involves combining physical touchpoints like test drives with digital engagements such as online brochures and a solid social media presence. We also realized that there was a need for an evolutionary user experience that would empower people to learn how to ride, maintain and make the best use of their two-wheeled vehicles.
Safety is among the top priorities for all drivers. As they need to know what is going on around them, proximity sensors, alerts, vibrations, and other forms of feedback can all be considered valuable mechanisms to increase safety.
Regarding navigation, we noticed something equally applicable to all driving experiences: minimalism and simplicity. People want to find their way around quickly and manage their navigation system without any difficulties. At the same time, the majority states they feel more comfortable staying within their smartphone ecosystem and preferred apps when navigating the city.
Towards a future without communication barriers
Ultimately, the Tangity-Star collaboration was about rethinking the relationship between people and two-wheeled vehicles, increasing the rider’s sense of security and making the overall experience more enjoyable. Think of it as something you can glide onto your vehicle, as part of an enhanced automotive experience, or even integrated into a futuristic transportation mode such as the Hyperloop. This is the future of HMIs, and OEMs need to start moving towards it now.
How can manufacturers leverage HMIs in an ecosystem influenced by shared mobility and autonomous driving?
One thing everybody could agree on was to scale the role of assistive technology in the automotive experience. Virtual assistants are an integral part of this future, already present in numerous moments of our lives, including our vehicles, one question, however, remains unanswered. Will we have a single virtual assistant that we will use throughout the day, or will we have specialized ones for each situation (i.e., in the car, in-store, online, etc.)?
We think it’s still too early to tell, but one thing is for sure: the competition will get heated once manufacturers become service providers and fuel their businesses with data as much as they do with sales.
Yes, mobility is ever-changing, which is why it’s hard to distinguish where the road ahead will lead us. What we do know is that the time has come to focus on the experience and less on technical features. Let design play its crucial part in the automotive industry’s revolution to elevate and strengthen the relationship between people, technology, and new stakeholders entering the ecosystem.
Fuel your strategy with a powerful collaboration between design leaders such as Tangity and Star to make sure you’re off to a good start towards finding a scalable solution that is not only good business but good for humanity.