BMW’s Adrian van Hooydonk talks about the car of the future and how the experience of driving will continue to change due to digitization.
Automotive design today is at the crossroads. Cars still feature analogue, tactile controls, but we already see a lot of digital elements build into cars enhancing the driving experience. Adrian van Hooydonk, responsible for the automotive design at BMW group, expects the next 5 to 10 years to be the most exciting time in the car industry he will have witnessed.
New players have entered the field. There are companies that position themselves around autonomous driving only, while BMW is a brand that is built upon the very idea that customers enjoy to drive. There is also a battle on the rise between this group of young, fresh entrepreneurs that do believe they can change the world, and on the other hand, the established companies that might move too slow to pick up the signs of change.
How is BMW dealing within this new battlefield? Adrian believes that BMW is probably the only company in this group of old, established car brands that has proven it can think, act and work like a startup. As an example, he gives some insights into the development of the i-series, in particular into the creation of a new design language for electric and hybrid cars.
As part of the i-series, they have also created mobility services such as DriveNow and ParkNow. Looking at more traditional BMW models, you will actually not find them that old-fashioned either: You can choose to interact with the car in many ways – via voice, touch or gesture control.
What does the future hold? How will interaction change?
Adrian shows a demo-clip of BMW Connected – which makes sure your user experience starts pleasantly even before you get into the car. The clip shows how the car becomes a personal assistant. It can help you to decide which route to take based on your calendar schedule, current traffic and weather information. You can seamlessly switch from driving into automatic mode to check some emails or making calls on the road. After a nice trip through Santa Monica, L.A., the driver waves his car goodbye and it drives away to find itself a parking lot.
This last part is a piece of technology that is pretty close to becoming a reality, Adrian tells us. BMW recently demonstrated the technology at CES in Las Vegas. The other aspects are pretty close, too. However, as a design team, they try to envision the near future and this is typically 3 to 5 years ahead of what is technically possible right now.
Following his presentation, Adrian is joined by Yana Peel, CEO of Intelligence Squared Group, for a quick conversation on competitors, cultural differences and the important role of design: making the different interactions – be it tactile or digital, in or outside of the car – match and thus ultimately, creating a beautiful and seamless user experience.