Re-inventing the journey experience - A multifaceted framework to comfort in autonomous vehicles
Future vehicles provide scope to completely re-invent the journey experience. Technological advances have enabled fast progression of driving automation which has the potential to deliver efficient, accessible, sustainable and clean transport systems. Level 4 autonomous vehicles provide an exciting opportunity for drivers and passengers to engage in many activities unrelated to the driving task (e.g. reading, work communication/social networking on mobile technologies, relaxing, watching films etc.) leading to benefits in terms of comfort, pleasure and productivity. There has already been a lot of work looking at the active safety systems autonomous vehicles will need to use as well as the accompanying Human Machine Interface (HMI). For example, studies that look at the time it takes to hand over control from the vehicle to the occupant, and from the occupant to the vehicle. However, little is known regarding the nature of the secondary activities that drivers will want to undertake, and how this will impact occupant comfort, the vehicle architecture, its features and functional safety systems. To understand the ergonomic and engineering impact, first we must capture and fully understand user needs and their preferences in terms of the type of activities that could be undertaken in-vehicle. Re-inventing the journey experience is a research program addressing the lack of research around the user experience of autonomous vehicles. The main aims of the program are to: (1) understand potential for improving the travelling experience; (2) understand what the ergonomic, legislative, safety and comfort constraints are in order to identify design constraints; (3) understand how design innovations can support new occupant requirements. This paper presents a multifaceted framework which aims to guide researchers and industry professionals to more pragmatic vehicle concepts.