The Automotive Design

Table of Contents

New Digital Technologies and Trends

Emotion and its Role

Context and its Role

Ask Questions

The organization of a thesis

The evolution of automobile design began to change the way people move (Damiani and Deregibus, 2009; Spinney and Reimer, 2017, respectively). The Ford Model T was produced in 1908 and made affordable cars more accessible (Eckermann 2001). Automotive design was developed from the 1920s to become a distinct discipline from general Industrial Design (Sparke 2002). The interplay of different aspects of automotive design, such as engineering, form, and performance, has led to the evolution of automotive design (Sparke 2002).

Inserra 2017: As automobiles became symbols of status and elegance in the 20thcentury, aesthetics, design, and styling became important aspects of automobile design. In the 1950s, multi-colored exteriors were explored. Inserra, 2017, 2017: Interior design and ergonomics became more important in the 1980s. Spinney Reimer, Pinch and others (2017) have made it a priority to improve the performance of new cars. This shift is also evident in the change in words used to describe cars’ most important attributes in the 20th century. Instead of using words such as ‘distinctive, elegant, and ’sportive’, they now use words such as’safe, friendly, and â€?environmental compatibility’ (Damiani and Deregibus, 2009). In-car connectivity was created in 21st-century with the development of advanced digital features within the automobile (Damiani Deregibus and Andreone in 2009). Automotive research is shifting, and requires interdisciplinary approaches to driving experience (Spinney Reimer, Pinch, 2017).

Trends in New Digital TechnologiesThe automotive industry has experienced rapid transformation due to digital technology. (Barra (2016) The OnStar system, developed by GM in 1996, allowed cars to be linked to various information streams and services. This opened the door to connected automobiles, which can enhance driving experience. Live concierge services were made possible by the incorporation of sensors into vehicles.

In the middle of the 2000s, smartphones had exploded in popularity, opening up new possibilities for connectivity. Massy, 2007, explains that infotainment applications were added to the car’s dashboard by Massy. The car’s driver-brought-in phone has made it easier for drivers to access all kinds of entertainment content (Microsoft News Center 2012. The advanced integration of digital technologies in automobiles has allowed connected vehicles to communicate with other smart devices and infrastructure that contains multiple sensors. McKinsey (2013) predicts that there will be an average increase of 30 percent in Internet-connected vehicles between now and 2020. In contrast, traditional automobiles are expected to grow by only four percent annually over the same period. One fifth of automobiles will connect wirelessly by 2020 (Davidson 2015.) This means that many network-based services will be available in automobiles, including Internet radio, information and driver assistance apps.

Automated driving is seen as one of major shifts within the automotive industry. Its estimated impact on society and the economy is huge, and it has also been the subject of significant technological advances (Milakis. Arem. Wee 2017, 2017). CAVs and connected vehicles could have a net annual economic or social benefit of approximately $1 billion.

PS51 billion is expected to create over 30,000 new jobs by 2030, according to KPMG, 2015 (Figure 1). It could reduce serious accidents and increase GDP growth. The UK market for CAVs will reach PS28bn in 2035. This represents 3% of the global PS907bn market (Transport Systems Catapult 2017). Recent forecasting also shows that all UK-produced vehicles will be equipped with at least conditional automation technologies by 2027. This is expected to increase to 25% by 2030 according KPMG (2015). Figure 1. Economic and social impacts of autonomous and connected vehicles (adapted by KPMG, 2015). The evolving role of the connected vehicle and rapid advancements in automated driving have changed the nature of the automobile. It is no longer a passive transportation machine that can move from point A, B, or vice versa (Eichler Schroth; Eberspacher), 2006.

According to Rousseau (2015), the idea of an automobile has changed from a physical object to a digital device. Research shows that digital technology has improved mobility and added multiple functions such as communication, entertainment, leisure, and business (Moore 2012). People’s attitudes to automobile ownership have changed. McKinsey and Company (2013). The frequent use digital devices in transit has made automobiles less remote from people’s lives (Gellatly, et al. 2010). The term “automotive shelter” has been used occasionally to describe the modern automobile as a socially-interactive environment (Gkatzidou Giacomin & Skrypchuk (2016)).

The automotive industry has seen a significant shift in its target market (Koushik & Mehl 2015). The fastest-growing buyer segment is the millennials (Williams & Page, 2011). According to J.D Power and Associates’ Power Information Network, 4.1 millions vehicles were sold last yea to millennials in the United States. It is anticipated that by 2020 they will represent approximately 40% of the U.S. market for new-vehicles (Kurylko (2017)). The attitudes of millennials and baby boomers born between 1946-1964 are vastly different. (Williams & Page, 2011). The baby boomer generation viewed owning a vehicle as a sign of their status. But millennials view consumption differently (Warton 2017. This is evident in Bradshaw’s 2014 phrase ‘Rent, Stream, and Experience’. It reflects millennials’ preferences – they value being able to experience life in a way which fulfills their needs (Niewiadomski and Anderson,2017).

Future automotive design could follow the example of Figure 2, which shows a shift away from automotive design’s functional needs to focus on human experience. Figure 2 Automotive Design Evolution (adapted by UVM, 2011. McCarthy and Wright (2004) stated that automobiles are deeply, emotionally, intellectually and practically embedded in everyday life. It is important to understand how people experience automobiles and capture their positive reactions (Norman, 2013,). The experience itself is subjective. It cannot be designed. However, experience scaffolds should be created that enable people to enjoy their automotive experience. Because experience is dependent on the individual (Kim 2015), it can only be created through an understanding of how people’s thoughts, emotions and actions are shaped within the context.

Understanding Emotional Role in Designing a Pleasant ExperienceMcCarthy, Wright (2004); Desmet, Hekkert (2007, 2007,) Emotion plays a key role in many aspects and interactions of human experience. Epstein (1994), states that while humans’ rational system processes information using logic, their experiential system uses emotions to do so. Psychologists have demonstrated that humans’ emotional systems are activated by an experience. Hanington, 2017, explains that emotion cannot be seen as an isolated entity. Emotional consideration is essential for creating positive and pleasurable experiences (Gkouskos, Chen 2012).

Emotion was first discovered in 1980s research into product meanings, semantics and enjoyment experiences. Norman first introduced the term “user experience”, which was a holistic view of design that recognizes emotion. In the years that followed, complex consumer electronics technology made it possible to shift the primary focus from technology’s functional aspects to technology’s emotional effects. Hanington, 2017, 2017. The importance of designing to satisfy human desires and needs has been recognized and accepted by all (Jordan 2000; Picard & Wexelblat (2002); Hanington (2017)). Emotion has been highlighted in previous studies of design. They have identified the major elements that impact on emotion. Jordan (2000) proposed four pleasures to contribute to emotional experience: the psychological and sociological as well as the ideological.

His theory (Jordan2000) suggests that the emotional pleasures from these four pleasures can both be fulfilled if the product is functional and usable. This is what people expect from a product. Bucolo (2004), Popovic (2005) and Gomez (2004) outline the four essential elements that form an emotional experience. Figure 4 illustrates how context shapes the interaction between humans and products. This suggests that the context influences the experience by influencing the emotions associated with each task or activity performed. Figure 4 User-artefact-activity within context forms experience (adapted from Gomez, Popovic and Bucolo, 2004).

In-car driving has become complex due to the advanced use of digital technologies. This has demonstrated the importance of emotions. Digital technologies can influence drivers’ behaviours and safety. Foen 2012 and Lajunen 2001 show that drivers are more prone to make bad decisions when feeling angry or frustrated. This can lead to dangerous decisions, which could result in accidents. Sheller (2003, p. 3) argues that emotional reactions are important in determining the car, driving habits, lifestyle and performance of a driver. This research focuses specifically on emotional responses and the systematic investigation of the best design approach to help build relationships with potential buyers.

ContextScenarios and its role

These criteria were used to assess the suitability of the tools used in this research.

To understand and meet human needs that are emotional and social.

A story that demonstrates human experience from the perspective of a person is a way to show it.

For this purpose, a scenario for design is the best tool. Goodwin, 2010. A scenario is a way to better understand a person’s day through the lens of design. Because the story depicts an entire experience, which can include events, situations and activities as well as interaction between people and artefacts (Carroll, 2000), it could help to uncover meanings or needs in different contexts that are emotional. For testing automobile systems that perform high-functional tasks such as driving and performance, there are many scenarios.

Safespot (2006) provides typical automotive scenarios that include traffic conditions, environmental conditions, and driving context. These can be used to assess the performance and functions of each specification in a given situation. Numerous automotive studies have used system performance testing scenarios, including pre-collision (Chien, Patron, and Lane, 2014), as well as embedded systems integration (Davis Patron and Lane 2007, 2007). Skrypchuk and Giacomin (2016) expressed concern about whether existing scenarios are able to answer the emotional, psychological and sociological automotive design questions. Gkouskos Normark, Lundgren and Giacomin (2014) have noted that existing standardised automotive scenarios do not seem to be beneficial in designing automotive products and systems. Their strong focus on technical and task-based design is a problem. While it is well-known that a product or service design should consider the emotional aspects (Dupre and others, 2012; Gkouskos, Chen, 2012), automotive scenarios have been deemed to less important. Standardised design scenarios available for automotive design do not meet the demands and manage the complexity of an automotive environment.

Further research is needed to determine what stories people tell that can trigger emotions in relation to the automotive environment. This research investigates the current limitations and importance of automotive design scenarios. This research will enable the automotive field to be supported and utilized by practitioners in order to evaluate and test automotive products, service and system concepts.

Research questionsThe thesis was inspired by the belief in human-focused automotive design scenarios that can be used to address automotive design issues that involve sociological, emotional or psychological aspects.

These are some of the most important research questions:

What are the main components of design scenarios?

How does one create a scenario that is complete and exact?

What are the emotional experiences that can be described in different automotive contexts?

What automotive affective scenarios can be used to test a product, system, or concept?

The research seeks to design automotive designs that are emotionally responsive to human emotions. These research objectives were created to help achieve the goal and answer key research questions.

(OB1) To identify key automotive scenarios requirements by identifying human desires about automotive experience in complex digital environments;

(OB2) Provides an operational definition of scenarios, and a process of scenario development by analyzing and synthesising relevant literature on scenarios.

(OB3) To devise automotive affective scenarios based purely on emotional responses.

(OB4) To analyze the results of research, we use the scenario to test an auto concept.

Thesis Structure. This thesis’ research was organized in three phases: evaluation, development, and definition. Each phase was subject to a major study. The first phase consists of a literature review and preliminary interviews with people about their automotive desires. The second phase includes workshops and online discussions on scenarios for automotive, as well as large-scale face-to-face and online inquiries in a simulator. The thesis’ third phase reviews the results of the research, discusses limitations of the research and suggests possible applications for future automobile design. Nine chapters describe the research and evaluation that went into the formulation of the automotive affective design scenarios.

The following summarizes Chapters 1-9:

Chapter 1 presents an overview on the history of automotive design, digital technology, trends, design approaches, and human-centred design tools to adapt new trends. The thesis structure is described and discussed along with the research questions, objectives, and overview.

Chapter 2 contains a comprehensive literature review on scenario history, typology and development process. A scenario operational definition is also introduced by the analysis and synthesis existing scenario definitions and emotional responses to scenario identification activities.

Chapter 3 describes the key requirements for automotive design. A preliminary semi-structured study of 32 participants was used to identify these key requirements. It focused on human desires within an automotive context with particular emphasis on digital device integrations. It demonstrates the importance to consider all human aspects, including the emotional, when designing automotive vehicles. This is the reason why the studies were conducted.

Chapter 4 reports on preliminary scenario identification studies in two workshops that examined either driving or not-driving scenarios. Two separate workshops were held with seven participants from the automotive industry and seven from the non-automotive sector. These were used to help structure the main scenario recognition activity.

Chapter 5 is a report on an extensive online study. This was done in an uncontrolled setting. Participants were asked to share their car stories. Participants were asked to respond based only on long-term recall of their cars as drivers and passengers.

Chapter 6 reports on an inquiry that took place face-to–face in a simulator setting. 34 participants provided their own car stories and expressed their emotions. A controlled simulator that could trigger positive or negative emotions, was necessary due to the state dependent memory and context benefits.

Chapter 7 integrates themes from scenario identification studies and examples of each main theme.

Chapter 8 evaluates the results of research conducted by automotive practitioners.

Chapter 9 summarizes key findings and research limitations.


  • owengriffiths

    Owen Griffiths is 35 years old and a blogger and teacher. He has written about education for over 10 years and has a passion for helping others learn.