Designers must get creative with autonomous vehicle HMI


As vehicles become increasingly autonomous, the human-machine interface (HMI) is evolving: cars must now communicate whether they are in control, or if it is time to take back the wheel. And with distraction already a challenge, automakers are considering how to keep drivers alert and informed without bombarding them with notifications.

The evolution of the HMI—a collection of dials, screens, buttons and touchpads—will be driven by software. Most new vehicles today already use digital screens to display basic information and to control different apps. In models such as the Tesla Model 3, practically every function is controlled through that central screen. Meanwhile, the rollout of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)—now commonly packaged as Level 2 and soon, Level 3 highway pilots—continues. Each will come with its own alerts and carefully considered HMI.

The grey area between full and partial automation is reshaping the vehicle HMI

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