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Hello, autonomous parking! Where are you going?

How do people andmachines interact when the car is driving instead of the driver? Does autonomous driving influence the design of our cars? These were among thequestions on the future of mobility that engineers and industrial designersdiscussed at this year's VDI convention "DES=ING" in Stuttgart onApril 24–25, 2017. And UID joined the ranks of the automotive visionariest here. Together with our client Bosch we presented the prototype of anintelligent parking assistant, giving autonomous parking a face.

A car that knows the way home and independently parks in the garage? From a technical point of view, Bosch is already able to build such a system. To enable the carmaker to test and present the proprietary parking and maneuvering system to potential automotive customers, a navigable and operable prototype had to be developed.

But what needs to be considered when developing highly complex parking and maneuvering systems so that different drivers can operate them safely and conveniently? This is where the UID experts came into play. In a joint effort, a display and operating concept was developed on the highest graphical level. It put the technical maturity of the assistance systems in the perfect light while creating an optimal user experience.

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This is how parking becomes an enjoyable user experience

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Making the user's life easier

In order to avoid overwhelming the user, a parking assistant only displays the perspectives and functions needed to support the driver in the actual situation. And the system can take over tricky driving routines such as parking into tight curbside spaces. The driver has the option of controlling the vehicle via the user interface from within the car or with the help of a smartphone from outside.

Realistic design

Our parking assistant's display is in portrait orientation so that the users don't have to change the perspective when parking or maneuvering the car. Instead, they can orientate towards the front or the back, just like in real life.

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Teamwork makes thedream work

For the experts at the VDI convention, the UID/Bosch project was, above all, an excellent example of effective and efficient cooperation. Geographical proximity, communication among colleagues at eye level and working hand in hand in interdisciplinary teams were extremely beneficial for the project. Being a proven specialist for user interface design, UID accompanied the entire project from the first analyses all the way to programming a representative prototype with Qt.

Work in progress:parking 4.0

Currently, UID and Bosch are developing a fully autonomous version of the parking assistant. In future, the vehicle will be able to find and steer for a parking space while the driver is already queuing at the bakery. But before autonomous driving will make its way into our everyday lives, some open questions remain to be addressed. And these questions are not merely of a technical nature but humans, too, have to be factored in.

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How does an autonomous vehicle have to behave and communicate so that all persons on the road feel safe and at ease - drivers just as well as passengers, cyclists and pedestrians? How can the joy of driving become the joy of being driven? And how can the "right" design of autonomous vehicles provide for more trust and acceptance among everyone on the road? UID is addressing these questions and is actively working with Bosch and other customers to find solutions for these future challenges.