Bournemouth University has highlighted the work of Dr Kyungjoo Cha, Senior Lecturer in Product Design, in helping Hyundai and Kia to ensure that their self-driving vehicles live up to the expectations of Gen Z users – those born between 1997 and 2012.
Specialising in user experience (UX) design, and working in partnership with Hyundai Motor Company’s Holistic UX Group, Dr Cha began the “auZentic” project to understand how young people perceive their digital life and entertainment needs.
“This is a fast-moving sector, with the development of new technologies and artificial intelligence,” she said. “The automobile sector has invested a great deal in research and development for autonomous vehicles, and now Hyundai and Kia have identified the need to understand what will drive the next generation’s experience.
“Generation Z were born with the internet. Their perceptions around entertainment and digital life are different to older generations. Understanding this is crucial for designing the vehicles of the future. It will not necessarily be just about chilling out in the vehicle – we found they are passionate about advocacy and getting behind projects in their digital life.”
Ongoing self-driving partnership
Kia and Hyundai’s positive response to the initial work led to a second stage of the partnership, investigating how users will want to interact and communicate with an autonomous vehicle.
“The people we spoke to gave us many examples of the type of relationship they could have,” said Dr Cha. “Some suggested a relationship like that between a horse and its rider, we also had comparisons to a butler and their employer, or an aeroplane pilot and auto-pilot. Some also spoke about being team players with their cars.
“Different contexts will determine how people want to communicate. For example, if someone was feeling emotional or upset, they might not want to talk.”
The suggested solution is a multi-model approach offering several options for communication between car and user, which could provide safety benefits as well as better user experiences.
2019 Hyundai video
Back in 2019, in the early days of Cars of the Future, this futuristic video of Hyundai’s EV wireless charging and automated valet parking concept was one of our most popular features.