When I was studying in Finland, Rightware contacted me to design an app for a future car. This app would then be built using the Kanzi software, the automotive standard, for which I was given a temporary licence for. My focus for this project was in making every function of the car - from opening a window to changing the heating - simple, elegant and effortless to control.
My goal was to design and create something that could be feasible within a year, and so I scrapped many of my initial ideas for being too futuristic. Instead I focused upon the interaction between the user and the car. Each function has its own screen, with the device itself being a button.
By creating a simple but powerful interface, the user can focus upon the action they are taking, and not lose themselves in menus, screens or other options. The entire screen becomes the button, controlled using simple gestures.
A large challenge was balancing the roles of the smartphone app and the onboard display. My initial idea was to focus upon the onboard display, but after much trial and error I discovered that a smartphone would indeed be needed as it was too unwieldily to enter lots of data. Therefore the roles of each device changed - the onboard display would be used as the main display and for simple tasks, such as lowering the windows or changing the volume, and the smartphone app would be used to create users, enter data, unlock the car and any other function which required precision.
Instead of being an all-in-one package, the inbuilt display would be an extension of the smartphone app, built to be seen and used while in the car and powered by the smart phone app.