I love the concept of apple carplay and the other in dash UI for cars, however, maybe the solution was right in front of us, but had the wrong software. Why limit your UX while driving to hardware that came off the car manufacturing lot. Meet Navdy:
A modular heads up display, that allows you to use motions to interact with your digital lifestyle ( phone ) through maps, texts, and phone calls. Gone are the days of reaching over to your dashboard mounted phone, and waiting for that new car with bluetooth display integration. Garmins and Tom Tom’s were great, but they were single serving. Todays techie needs a screen above the dashboard that is easy to use and gives them instant access without having to be hard to navigate through its menu / interactions.
Navdy is cool, but the more interesting observation is that these technologies have been around, but have not caught on due to price or the interactions were too broad to begin with. Leap Motion which has some amazing UX, never really solved a pain point. Navigating your computer never really made sense, but navigating your phone while driving has always been an issue. So much that many of us have already received tickets for driving and using our phones or just aside that policy was created to stop people from texting and driving.
Will this catch on? I am not sure. Is it better then anything else out there right now – yep. I think the HUD will start to catch up, but I also wonder if there is a cultural problem still in place. Maybe we should not be multitasking while driving at all? Its a mute point, but with that logic we should not have radio or bluetooth tech at all. The other question is how much hardware do you need from a car, or should technology always be an add on accessory? Maybe that makes more sense. Cars are replaced every 7 years or so, where phones roll over every 2 years or so. Maybe technology for cars should be modular and outsourced?
Either way, it will be interesting to see how Navdy takes off. Curious to see how the gestures work in real life, and how the resolution of the screen works and if there are any other criticisms that come to play once it starts being used by real people. Kudos to the Navdy team for being disruptive AND creating something that is self contained and plug and play.
Phones got a lot smarter in the last 10 years – now its time for cars. Dumb Feature Cars, will become smartcars in the next 2 years. I say Cars will become a Platform for Technology, because there are so many options. From self driving, to touch wheels, to sensors that have yet to become developed.
Lets consider cars the most beautiful and fast computer that happen to sit in – what would you want it to do. Let’s go beyond satellite radio and an iphone dock. Mini is making some great strides, apple too with CarPlay, and lets not forget Tesla who has the largest display of any manufacturer and their system is a full operating system, not just an entertainment kiosk.
The larger trend here is that the internet of things will continue to innovate on top of analog machines, and technology ecosystems will continue to overlap – leading to some exciting user experiences and great uses of contextual data.
Carplay is going to be BIG. While apple could have simply make Cars be more compatible with iPhones, they took it a step further, and integrated with cars. This is one of the first places we are starting to see an S curve in cars shifting from hardware & mechanics to software.
My personal hypothesis is that most cars are similar enough – antilock breaks, power steering, top speeds, safety, etc. So the other place they can go for points of differentiation is style or software. This represents a new era of digital luxury in something that has always been very analog with digital touches.
I will continue to write about this in a few different posts – but this will really change things.
We are starting to see that networks are overlapping with other networks – which is an entirely new level of contextual awareness for machines. Its the start of something really new.
It brings up some really interesting smaller and big questions including:
1. Will you choose a car based off of what carrier it has?
2. Will you service your car at an apple store or your local garage ?
3. How do you manage multiple drivers?
4.Are you allowed to download while driving?
5. What does this mean for privacy?
6. Could apps move into things that are essential car functions such as AC or performance?
7. Who would have thought Google & Apple would be large players in the auto market? 8.The idea of Cars as a platform, not a thing.
I love hands free, but apparently my iphone doesn’t know its in my car. It seamlessly can answer calls, or play music through my cars speakers, but thats about it. Everything else is just about it being mounted on my dash.
Why doesn’t the UI of my phone change when its connected to my car via bluetooth?
Let me first say that I love apple products. However, as a driver, this most recent iOs update made is very hard to perform basic functions while driving. I am not talking about using Siri or playing a game, I am specifically talking about how the button to hang up the phone went from 2 inches rectangular to 1/4 inch circular. Thats a big difference while you are driving. I expect for the UI of my phone to become simpler and bigger while I am driving. I do agree that is looks better, and is more cohesive, but that is not the point I am making here. I am talking about usability of a smart device during certain types of activities.
Ui elements – smaller buttons
Phones need to become more contextual to meet our needs. Context doesn’t have to be magical, however connected devices should give clues to a phone about how it could work and behave.
My phone is beautiful, but I am waiting for the utility of it to catch up to my expectations.
Within the decade, I think self driving cars will be the norm. It will be a “why would you take the risk driving yourself” type of situation. Not to mention some really interesting side effects such as lobbying from alcohol brands and insurance companies. Imagine your car is its own designated driver – wow. After all, this is a kit that can be applied to any car, not just google cars. They are on the road, being used, and really no one is excited anymore – this baffles me. Plus, there is a very interesting scenario where this allows cars to be turned into offices or 3rd places, where no one needs to know how to drive anymore. Driving will only be a recreational sport. But I digress…
I struggle using Siri to call a restaurant or fedex. I spend 2 entire minutes while driving finding the right location, and often it registers my “yes” as a “yet” and I have to start over. The process is tolerable at best.
The outstanding question I have asked for the last 2 years is why is the car integration so bad? Apple knows I am sync’d via bluetooth, so why is the font so small, why is the UI not responsive, why can I not utilize something that minimizes the total number of touches?
It looks like finally that apple has started to form the strategic partnerships in auto interiors. The race to the TV entertainment center has been amended to also include auto integration. And why not. We have become partial cyborgs in terms of mapping, directions, and search, and cars seem like one of the most underutilized places for tech and multitasking. Not that multitasking is safe, but I am just saying the technology and displays in car has been lagging compared to the rest of our entertainment universe.
According to PSFK, the following auto makers will sign on: Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo initially. BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp
I am excited to see how mobile continues to integrate into our daily commute.