Future of Automotive Interiors Conference: The biggest design challenges aren’t in front of you – yet

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Tom Pavlak, founding partner, Poco Labs, USA, will be giving a conference presentation at this year’s show entitled The biggest design challenges aren’t in front of you – yet.

Tell us about your presentation.
We already know that the technology behind autonomous driving, connectivity and vehicle sharing will change how we experience the interior of the automobile. But we rarely consider what new experiential factors will be presented by new stakeholders. What will their impact be, particularly since those factors and stakeholders are normally outside the boundaries of a typical design brief? My presentation will offer insights from recently completed research conducted on behalf of the Autonomous Vehicle Alliance (AVA), and use those to describe a variety of future conditions that interior designers are very likely to encounter and have to accommodate.

How will autonomous driving, connectivity and vehicle sharing change how we experience the interior of the automobile?
Autonomy, connectivity and sharing are likely to introduce different changes and ought to be considered separately as they’re also happening on different timelines. Although most expect these technologies will allow for riders to be more inwardly and interior-focused in future vehicles, developments outside the vehicle may mean we pay nearly as much attention to the road as we do now.

What new experiential factors will be introduced? How will these change how people experience driving?
One factor is likely to be accommodating variability. If you think about a scenario where you’re presented with a choice between riding a bus or a fixed-rail vehicle to and from identical start and end points, you can assume the bus might maneuver between other vehicles and lanes, while the rail vehicle has a very defined path to follow and isn’t likely to deviate from that path. If you choose the bus, you choose some ambiguity. That ambiguity is going to require a level of trust from the passenger that interiors today don’t really address.

What is the Autonomous Vehicle Alliance?
The AVA is a non-profit, member-governed organization that defines and conducts primary research into the non-technical aspects of Level 4 and 5 autonomous driving. Our focus is on understanding the consumer-, municipal- and business-facing value propositions and challenges that come with the introduction of AVs into the world. Everybody appreciates the amount of amazing technology that goes into making an autonomous vehicle ride and drive safely, but our work has illuminated so many non-technical factors that need to be understood to really make the entire experience work. Making connections between the different stakeholder perspectives of auto makers, governments, businesses and people is fascinating, and it really does help describe a path forward for anybody interested crafting a superior automotive user experience.

What are the future conditions that interior designers are likely to face?
We’re all very good at designing for physical comfort, but the future will introduce new cognitive challenges. Overcoming those will also be key to keeping the interior experience enjoyable.

Don’t miss…
Tom Pavlak, founding partner, Poco Labs will deliver his presentation ‘The biggest design challenges aren’t in front of you – yet’ at 13:40pm on Day 1 (October 22), at The Future of Automotive Interiors Conference 2019 in Novi, Michigan.

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Christine has worked for UKi Media & Events for almost 15 years across a variety of roles. Currently she is Expo News Editor, writing about the new technologies on display and the visitors to the company’s trade shows. She is a proponent of the Oxford comma.

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