Being able to cross rivers, go through mud and muck or cruising down a beach while observing a beautiful sunset, have all been staple speech surrounding adventure-type vehicles. However, the most important feature is being able to decide where you go. There is a certain risk and excitement involved in driving a vehicle through unfamiliar terrains and the feeling of freedom has long been in the imagination of people who buy these types of vehicles; with autonomy being the next evolutionary step for the world of transportation, how would an adventure vehicle look, feel and function in a level 5 autonomous World?
Understanding current vehicles, archetypes and business models have allowed us to have a clear picture of how these adventure vehicles work today. We researched the topic from different perspectives, read through adventure blogs, forums and travel websites, visited an ATV dealer and finally went to fairs talking to people and observing what they valued most about their vehicles. At the end, we began to realize the true value of these vehicles and had an insight into what they are truly selling and what makes them so.
We also understood that our users had a different mindset and view of the world; thanks to social media and easy access to always connected devices, they experienced their surroundings distinctly as they have separate value criteria and want something personalized and unique. This gave us a valuable insight into not only the perspective and value criteria of our users but also a strategy to develop a business opportunity.
Primary Research at an ATV fair in LA
To conclude our research phase, we categorized, analyzed and synthesized all of our findings and understandings and built a design concept.
As designers, we agreed that the current model of selling adventure vehicles would quickly become outdated. With autonomy and its corresponding infrastructure and system developments, the thrill of driving and its adrenaline would become neutralised; ride sharing and shared economy trends suggested that the users of these services would not want to own a vehicle but rather access it through a service or subscription. Finally, with the rise of social media, users would not settle for generic ‘adventures’ but other personalised and tailored built ones.
Sizing modeling and ergonomic testing
Our design concept shaped by the research, looked to propose a space framed level 5 autonomous vehicle. Instead of the traditional business model, we see this vehicle being deployed mostly in rural or touristic area as part of an experiential based adventure.
We developed the exterior with the concept as outside so within. Thanks to the space frame and a translucent “dashboard”, the user has a full 360º interaction with the environment. This would enhance the experience since this adventure that is tailor-made has valuable insight from the users´ social media. Although this is a level 5 vehicle, it is extremely safe and can cross any terrain, it does not hinder visceral interaction between the user, vehicle and vehicle AI.
We foresee the touch screen and touch gestures becoming more and more engrained within our culture; this lead to developing remote touch interaction. By pointing and voice, the user can steer the vehicle and in a way re-establish that connection man and machine; this also would entice the user to ultimately use this type of services back in the city. Furthermore, due to the connection of social media vehicle AI and personal AI, the vehicle is learning from these experiences and can predict more accurately the users´ needs and desires.
We developed an adventure story to illustrate how the user would interact with the vehicle and the direct components of our design along with a 1:1 Model and VR experience.