While the cars of today are more technologically connected and advanced than ever before, they are simultaneously not meeting drivers’ expectations of what technology can deliver. But with technology cycles speeding up, and delivering on new and ever more complex needs, technology has the opportunity to deliver an experience for drivers that extends the role of the vehicle beyond simple transportation. Driver’s needs extend far beyond going from point A to point B. How can we better understand a driver’s needs and leverage in-vehicle connectivity to create new product ideas and experiences?
We conducted in-depth ethnographic research with drivers across the globe—United States, China, and Europe—both in-homes and in-vehicles. In these conversations, we explored their current driving behaviors, their relationship with technology, and the intersection of the two to cut to the core of what drivers really need.
With a solid foundation of several hundred driver needs, we built a platform to organize needs on both a regional and global scale. The platform was born from the insight that the car plays myriad roles throughout a driver’s journey, from a Sherpa, to a Bodyguard, to an Entertainer. These roles, and the deconstruction of the driver’s journey, added valuable context and dimension to the needs, inspiring us to imagine a world beyond today’s reality and develop over one hundred unique in-vehicle experience concepts.
About 50 concepts were prioritized and brought to life through 2D renderings and user experience journeys for testing and further development. Of those initial concepts, several have been developed and released into GM and OnStar’s suite of connected services. But more importantly, the framework and insights laid the foundation for a pipeline of innovation that has helped shape GM’s approach to innovation and established the connected vehicle experience as we know it.