User being ignored on road to autonomous cars


Current semi-autonomous human machine interfaces and poorly rolled out testing procedures hinder progress

Over the last 15 years, semi-autonomous features for cars offered by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have arguably been a series of partially automated parking and driving systems that are mostly accurate and sometimes comfortable, but rarely easy to discover or use.

A new report from the In-Vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics has assessed the ongoing transition from semi-autonomous features in vehicles, to fully autonomous systems. Crucially, systems must be designed from the human outward, rather than from the system inward, to ensure successful uptake.

Current semi-autonomous driving and parking systems have not excelled, primarily due to poor human machine interfaces (HMI). Strategy Analytics’ study showed that first-time users often had extreme difficulty mastering the controls related to these features and correctly interpreting relevant iconography and messages. Even the most basic task such as determining whether the system was “on,” was difficult.

However, while consumers continue to show interest in autonomous transportation systems, many are pessimistic about them due to a lack of trust; and this will be a major obstacle to overcome.

Derek Viita, senior analyst and report author commented: “It is becoming clear that media coverage of early incidents with autonomous driving features is colouring early consumer perceptions of these systems. The rush by non-traditional transport companies to beta-test concepts before they are road-or-user-ready has led to a number of incidents being portrayed negatively in the media.”

Chris Schreiner, director of syndicated research, agreed: “Added to positive media coverage, the user experience of semi-autonomous driving and parking systems could also improve greatly. For example, warnings that use multiple output modalities lead to a faster reaction time and a quicker hand-off back to the autonomous system than warnings that use just one modality. This would go a long way toward establishing consumer trust in future fully autonomous transport experiences.”


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