Intersections of Trust: HMI Use Cases for Connected Vehicles

This is the second in a series of blog posts based on Intel research into human-machine interfaces (HMIs) for connected driving. Read the first one here.

In my previous blog post I wrote about how Intel’s user experience research teams have been conducting tests in the realm of fully connected vehicles, and how the results of our research are helping to drive advancements in HMI capabilities. Building on that first post, I’d like to share six key use cases in which our research shows trust interactions will be crucial.

One thing to keep in mind is that while personally owned connected vehicles will eventually be available for us to purchase, fleet-managed fully connected vehicles are likely to reach the market first. These are vehicles a person can hire, like a taxi. Fleet vehicles will provide the first fully connected vehicle experience for millions of passengers. They’ll need to be designed with a focus on interactions that build trust, from the moment a ride is requested.


1: Requesting a Connected Vehicle

An image of vehicles of a freeway representing vehicle-to-vehicle communciation.

You’re standing on a busy downtown street corner. Traffic is rolling by. You’ve just requested a pickup from a ride-hailing service, but there’s a catch. The car is driverless. Without a human behind the wheel, how will the car recognize you? How will you know it’s your ride?

When deploying fully connected vehicles as part of their fleets, transportation-as-a-service providers will need to make it easy for passengers to ensure the car that shows up is the one they asked for. Today, drivers and passengers of ride-sharing services can usually see a photo of one another. In addition, riders can confirm that the license plate on the car matches what they see on their app. Fleet connected vehicles will need a quick, simple way to be identified, whether it’s by photos, serial numbers, proximity sensors, or a combination thereof. Vehicles could even have an external display or indicator to let the passenger know that it’s there for him or her.


2: Entering the Vehicle and Initiating a Trip

A man lets his new road trip buddy, his connected vehicle, take over the driving.

Even in the absence of a human driver, getting inside an connected vehicle should be a warm, welcoming experience. Vehicles should offer a welcome message and invite passengers to adjust the environment — such as temperature and music selection— to their liking. These little touches can help passengers feel comfortable and confident once inside the vehicle.

Today, ride-sharing services let passengers select their destination via mobile app before the car arrives. However, the driver often confirms the route as the passenger enters. A connected vehicle’s HMI must make it incredibly easy to confirm the destination or set it for the first time. Large, prominent touchscreens can give passengers a way to quickly see where they’re headed or make changes.


3: Handling Trip Changes

A stock image tries to recreate the mood of Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam" by having a person touch a computer screen.

Road construction. An accident ahead. A sudden urge for a burger and fries. Whether based on the vehicle’s GPS or a passenger’s whim, trip changes must be handled simply and clearly.

Clear, bidirectional communication between passengers and the vehicle’s HMI is the first and foremost way to remove ambiguity and confusion — and build confidence and trust. Connected vehicles will need to inform passengers of route changes or request additional details with messages that are simple and easy to understand. The HMI must also acknowledge passenger inputs, so that riders know their instructions have been received.


4: Handling Emergencies

In this picture of a car driving through the snow, a connected vehicle quickly, and safely, adjusts to changing weather conditions.

From time to time, connected vehicles will be faced with emergencies or situations that require dramatic reactions. In these cases, successful HMIs will provide context for what just happened — for example, the vehicle stopped suddenly to avoid hitting another car running a red light. If the situation requires, the HMI should also give additional context for what should or will be happening next — for example, passengers should exit the vehicle and wait for another vehicle in a safe location.

Connected vehicles will need to be designed with consideration for what happens in an accident and what instructions are provided to passengers. How will the vehicle notify police, respond to injured passengers or request a new vehicle if the current one is disabled?


5: Safely Pulling Over and Exiting

A pair of road trip buddies take a selfie with their connected vehicle.

A good HMI will allow passengers to tell the vehicle where they’d like to be dropped off. If there are pedestrians, bicyclists or other obstacles, the HMI should show passengers that it knows they are there and will navigate safely around them. Sensors inside the vehicle can detect when the passengers have exited and even alert riders if a personal object, such as a mobile device, has been left behind. Outside the vehicle, sensors will continue to monitor passengers. Lights or other signals should clearly tell passengers when it’s safe to cross in front of the car.


6: Using the Road in Proximity to a Connected Vehicle

A family pushing a stroller walks across the street in front of a connected vehicle.

Not only must connected vehicles win the trust of their passengers, but also the people and drivers around them. Visual or audible notifications can help pedestrians and other vehicles safely cross in front of a connected vehicle. Our research has found that showing passengers what the connected vehicle “sees” is a key aspect of establishing trust. For example, many participants noted that when the HMI included a visual display of a pedestrian crossing the street, they felt more confident in the vehicle’s ability.

At the end of the day, connected vehicles must behave, react, and communicate in ways that passengers, pedestrians and other drivers are comfortable with. Only by winning trust will connected vehicles achieve widespread adoption.

Stay tuned for our third installment in this three-part series on Intel’s research into HMIs for connected driving. To learn more about the road ahead for connected vehicles, visit For more on Intel IoT developments, subscribe to our RSS feed for email notifications of blog updates, or visit and Twitter.


Published on Categories Automotive, EmbeddedTags , , , ,

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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