How will vehicle interiors evolve in the future? Which foreseeable and anticipated developments will influence our cars and the way we interact with them? Which urban and rural contexts will influence future mobility concepts, and how? How will behavior patterns and user expectations change? To find possible answers to these questions, Nuance conducted a joint project with designaffairs, a strategic design consultancy in the fields of consumer electronics, mobility, smart home, and healthcare, and a group that is continuously researching emerging technologies and material solutions. Based on technological innovations from other fields of industrial products, designaffairs group painted a picture of the vehicle interior design and mobility landscape by 2030. The resulting visionary—yet plausible—developments on design and interaction paradigms that are reflected by user journeys and renderings of interior design and interaction concepts inspired this series of blog articles on “Mobility 2030+.”
Let us start first with a look at the technological changes which we can anticipate to see by 2030.
Change in user experience
In 2030, the smartphone will be 23 years old and as outdated as a Siemens S3 is today. Reflecting on technological advancements, it can be assumed that smartphones could de-materialize and descend into other objects. Through gestural and voice inputs and AI-enhanced biometric tracking, interaction will focus on a certain space instead of a device and largely influence the way we interact with our virtual assistants. Traversing an enhanced virtual world with a multitude of information and services at hand while physically being embedded in a mobility solution will be a game changing explorative experience. This augmentation will give access to a virtual space of branded environments, mobility service options, and information about our surroundings.
“Phygital” reality devices could merge current augmented and virtual reality technologies. This mixed reality will be the medium – the filter through which we can enter the virtual world created by the Internet of Things. Brands, their services and content, and users will populate this space and will create new markets and business models – comparable to today’s app stores. Consequently, the passenger experience will become more attractive than the actual driving experience.
A combination of sensors and shapeshifting materials could be seamlessly integrated into knitted textiles. These fabrics will consequently create dynamic “machine-tissue.” In automotive interiors, these technologies will enable sentient environments that create a new layer of responsiveness. 3D knitted textiles could become the main aesthetic and structural element in a vehicle interior. This approach to interior architecture and materiality enables highly individualizable designs. Their superior functional properties will be further enhanced through the integration of sensorics.
Much like artificial central nervous systems, multi-channel sensor networks could be the future of Big Data. The collection of interconnected data is the key for building and training neural networks that constitute a significant pillar of artificially intelligent systems. As a result, interaction spaces in vehicle interiors will adapt to provide the best possible data collection from their occupants. Interiors will lack almost all HMI elements like steering wheels, gear shifts, or center consoles with buttons that we know today. They will disintegrate into interactive surfaces and structures that only become visible when needed.
Giving cars the computing power they need
Future interaction concepts, artificial intelligence, and autonomous driving demand great processing power. As a result, vehicles could become the most powerful computers we own. The sheer hardware necessary for their operation will make the vehicle a powerhouse that can work for us. To become powerful computers, chips and their inherent circuits must become smaller and more capable. As a result, the “Graphene Valley,” a successor of the “Silicon Valley,” could drive the next computer revolution. In addition, quantum computing and widespread 5G connectivity will enable us to make full use of the available resources. The processing power of our car hooked up to a grid, farm, or other computational devices can be used as an asset in larger scale tasks, like data mining.
Read my second blog article to learn what future mobility scenarios might look like once these technological assumptions are put into practice. Meet Dave, Wei, and Robert and their individual mobility scenarios.