Building Trust Between Human and Machine on the Road to Connected Vehicles

A passenger leans out of a connected vehicle to snap a picture of the beautiful scenery.

It’s a tremendously exciting time to work in smart and connected transportation. Connected vehicles are redefining our relationship with automobiles, and the promise of fully connected driving—zero accidents, less pollution, greater mobility, more productivity—is thrilling.

Yet there is a growing challenge in this new era of connectivity—the need to nurture trust between passenger and vehicle. That’s why Intel is enabling a sophisticated, natural human-machine interface (HMI) through real-world research to find out how people naturally interact inside and outside the vehicle, how communication happens between people and the connected vehicle, and how we can help keep cars safer from cybersecurity threats. We’re also delivering products and technologies that are needed to actually bring connected vehicles to market.


Building a Foundation of Trust

A pair of road trip buddies take a selfie with their connected vehicle.
It all comes down to trust. Even the most technically accurate connected driving solutions must strive to win over drivers and passengers with an interface that builds confidence between human and machine. It must be compatible with evolving consumer electronics, adapt to individual passenger preferences, safely change course, monitor passenger and road user safety, and communicate alerts.

The transformation from vehicles that require a driver’s involvement to vehicles that completely drive themselves will require a significant psychological and emotional shift for people. For connected vehicles to be successful, they will have to behave, react, communicate, and respond in ways that instill trust, so that people will feel comfortable and confident while interacting with them in a variety of contexts. The following are key principles that highlight the ideal emotional and psychological responses to an HMI that engenders trust.

  • People will feel safe in and around a connected vehicle. The vehicle’s behaviors and interior and exterior environments can help make people feel safe during transport.
  • People will always know what a connected vehicle is doing. The vehicle will clearly communicate intentions, actions, choices, etc., when people call for, enter, ride in, exit, and are around a connected vehicle.
  • People will feel “in control” of an AV. People can easily stop or make any changes or modifications to a journey—or enter and exit from a vehicle—and take over aspects of the operation of the vehicle, if necessary.
  • People will feel confident that they can engage in other activities instead of driving while riding in a connected vehicle. People won’t have to “keep an eye out” or split their attention between other activities and how the vehicle is moving or behaving.  

Driving HMI Research

In-vehicle computing is a first step toward connected driving.

Each year, Intel invests substantially in primary and collaborative research to reveal insights for better automotive HMI. We do this through extensive academic research programs; advanced technology explorations and ethnographic and design research; and collaborative research with OEMs and consortiums. Our goal is to advance trust and confidence in connected driving by designing trust interactions—those interactions that engender confidence, control, and a sense of safety—that are crucial for connected vehicles to be successful in the market.

At the heart of these interactions are four key capabilities: comprehensive sensing, clear communication, responding to changes, and multiple modes of interaction. In order to achieve this, current active safety and infotainment systems must converge into a unified system architecture. This new system architecture must then link self-driving functionality with the various visual, audible, and other mechanisms for communicating with passengers in connected vehicles.

These insights and affordances are manifested in our silicon and software roadmaps, and help our customers deliver amazing experiences. Intel has spent decades exploring the fusion of user experiences and advanced technology. Perceptual computing, contextual awareness, agency, and control are all examples of tangible Intel solutions derived from this work.

There are few aspects of our lives not touched by vehicles. Intel technology enables a wide variety of research, development, and deployment into making driving better. The automotive transformation occurring before us is driven by deep knowledge, expertise, and exploration in technology and UX research, defining the future of the industry—and the driving experience.

To learn more about the road ahead for fully connected vehicles, visit For more on Intel IoT  developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit, and Twitter.


Jack Weast

About Jack Weast

Jack Weast, Principal Engineer & Chief Architect of Autonomous Driving Solutions, Intel / USA: Jack Weast is an industry recognized innovator and change agent in the adoption of modern Information Technologies in non-IT industries. Jack is the co-author of UPnP: Design By Example, is the holder of numerous patents with dozens pending, and is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University.

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