My role
UX Researcher, UI and Prototype designer.
Mar - May 2021
10 weeks
Information Architecture IACT 370
Professor Sung Park
Professor Ascanio Di Paliano
Revolution was awarded a finalist position in the 2021 Rookies Awards.
Revolution also received 4 Silver and 1 Bronze Indigo Design Award.
Revolution Product poster
Topic of Interest
Building a sense of comfort and control for the passengers & drivers of AVs with the help of emotional recognition technology.
Inside a vehicle, the amount, quality, and delivery of information is essential not only for a good experience, but protecting the lives of users and their passengers.
We want to rework the pain points users feel in their experience interfacing with the vehicle by utilizing emotional recognition technologies to keep our passengers informed, entertained, and safe.
Initial Problem Statement
AVs with highly intelligent emotional recognition technology are the future. However, most people do not completely understand how this technology works, leading to a lack of trust with autonomous vehicles.
Target Audience
United States residents
Millenials Age Range:
Current or future drivers of Level 4 Autonomous vehicles
levels of automation
While this space is working with advanced technology that is not yet widely accepted or understood by the population, our expected outcomes for this project is grow Autonomous empathy, a sense of trust and safety in AVs, leading toward building a higher acceptance for AVs.
Section 1
Our goals were to understand how to build trust, confidence, control and a sense of safety for the passengers riding Autonomous Vehicles.
Icon - Car Accident
Every year, 37,000 people die in car crashes in the United States.
94% of serious crashes are due to human error.
Risks of an AV
Icon - warning
Uncertain responsibility in the case of an accident
Icon - warning
Distrust and lack of understanding in automation and technology
Icon - warning
The AV technology is still imperfect and needs time to mature
Benefits of an AV
Help in decreasing road accidents in comparison to human-driven vehicles
Road traffic can be reduced with fully connected autonomous vehicles
Help in reducing road pollution & making the environment greener
“In the autonomous mode, the driver should have a sufficient understanding of what the autonomous vehicle perceives to realize its analyses and to make its decisions. The driver must be confident that the autonomous vehicle has the right information to make the right decisions and if not, he/she must be able to take control.”
What people expect
Emotional Recognition Technology in AVs
Multimodal Models are a combination of each of these methods to get a clearer picture of the emotional state of a driver.
Radio waves
ERT - Radio Waves
Speech Recognition
ERT - Speech
Thermal Imaging
ERT - Thermal Imaging
Facial Expression
ERT - facial expression
Eye Gaze
ERT - eye gaze
After doing secondary research on different types of emotional recognition, we decided to focus on facial expression, eye gaze, as well as heart rate in our concept moving forward.
Competitors, or enablers?
Who is already out there and what are they doing?
logo - tesla
Level 3, Personal Vehicle
Steering Wheel and 15” touchscreen
Traffic-Aware Cruise Control
Camera and sensors
Autopark, Auto Lane Change
logo - waymo
Level 5 - Fully driverless, Ride Share Service
Steering Wheel and Live Video Feed to see what Waymo sees
Ride Share Service
LiDAR, camera, Radar
Live rider support agent
logo - cruise
Level 5 - Fully driverless, Ride Share Service
LiDAR, camera, Radar
Origin - No driver seat
logo - zoox
Level 5 - Fully driverless, Ride Share Service
LiDAR, camera, Radar
Predetermined mapped routes
“Carriage style” car
Primary Research Methods
Tesla test drive location
Experience-based Observation
Tesla Model Y Test Drive
interviewee screenshot
10 Interviews
7 users, 3 experts
cultural probe in the park
Cultural Probe (N = 32)
“Is Self-Driving the Future?”
test drive objectives
user interview objectives
expert interview objectives
cultural probe objectives
Cultural Probe Results
Need for Control in AVs
Drivers want to feel in control and responsible for the actions of the car, especially in high risk situations
Riders want the ability to override the AV to take back control in difficult scenarios
Riders want “just enough” transparent communication from their AV to compensate for the lack of control of the vehicle
Fear Surrounding AVs
Users have concerns about edge cases that may throw off the AV
There is considerable technophobia that a computer could never be on the same level as a human brain
Users are aware based on prior experience that software and technology can be fallible at times
Driving Behaviour, Styles & Pleasure
Some users want AVs to emulate human driving style and retain the same judgement calls as they do (passive vs. aggressive)
People enjoy the sensory aspects of driving (feeling the car run, speed, views)
Results in a unique set of emotions that drivers experience with their vehicles
levels of automation
Design Questions
HMW foster users’ sense of control and inspire confidence with an AVs ability to handle any scenario it may encounter?
HMW utilize our technology both non-invasively and consensually so it doesn’t feel creepy?
HMW overcome users' initial apprehension and conditioned fears concerning AVs?
HMW communicate the AVs actions and system state to users without overwhelming them with too much information?
persona 1
persona 2
Journey Map 1
Journey Map 2
Section 2
By defining the core problems clearly and identifying our target audience, we shifted into ideating a concept that would cater to fulfilling their emotions and our business goals.
Concept 1
Test Drive Experience
A showroom test driving experience that focuses on building awareness and acceptance for AVs in the pre-purchase touchpoint.

The test drive experience simulates different scenarios with LCD screens on the windshield & windows. In the process users learn about the AV features and how the AV functions through the In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) System and Instrument Cluster.
Concept 1 Expected Outcome
Interaction model
Feature Function Task
feature function task
Concept 1 Rationale
By exposing people to an immersive test drive, it provides them with the knowledge of how an AV works and how it is keeping them safe, reducing their fear and building confidence in the AVs.
Concept 2
Redesigned AV Ecosystem
A redesigned AV ecosystem that creates a seamless in- and out-of-car experience to build a sense of control and confidence in AVs.
Emotional Recognition Technology
In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI)
Voice User Interface (VUI)
Smart Key Fob
Concept 2 Interaction Model
interaction model
Feature Function Task
feature function task
Concept 2 Rationale
Users have a negative bias and fear towards AVs because of misinformation and lack of knowledge. Users feel unsettled and anxious in an AV due to the lack of control and human presence in the car. This can also be an isolating experience that induces further anxiety in a user.
While both concepts emerged to be strong ideas, we primarily chose to move forward with concept 1 as the base, then to push the innovation of it as far as our timeline and technical skill and understanding would allow us. Our next step was to build out the scenarios, task flows, screens and visuals for the test drive route and experience.
User Scenarios for the test drive
User goes through the AV settings and customizes the display layouts, emotional recognition and AV driving style to match their preferences.
User interacts with the IVI, navigates to a destination and the AV helps the user switch lanes when there is a construction site on the road.
User interacts with the IVI, navigates to a destination and the AV helps the user pull over for an emergency vehicle passing by.
Task Flow Scenario 1
Set Up
Task flow 1
Task Flow Scenario 2
Construction Site
Task flow 2
Revised Interaction Model
revised interaction model
User Testing Overview
User Testing Objectives
Testing onboarding interactions and user comprehension of copy and technical settings.
Testing homepage layouts, placement of information and labels.
General questions on written copy, setup, Emotion Recognition Technology, homepage, iconography and alerts/notifications.
User Testing Tasks
Users would start off the onboarding process, and then proceed to set up their driver profile, customizing screen layout, ERT preferences and AV performance settings.
Users would then navigate to the Homepage, set a location and begin experiencing the IVI interactions.
User Testing Round 1
7 Participants
Closed & Open Card sorting
Simulator prototype testing Simulator prototype testing
AV current speed, autobrake, seatbelt indicator, transmission mode and hazard lights are needed behind the steering wheel display
Users want time, temperature & current location on both displays
Users prefer to have seat adjustment, windshield wipers, blinkers and lighting to be controlled via tactile buttons in the car
User Testing Round 2
5 Participants
Wizard of Oz
Simulator prototype testing
Simulator prototype testing
Lo-Fi Wireframes - Set Up Screens
LoFi UI 3
Set up process was  easy to follow
LoFi UI 2
Offer a layout with a bigger map when not in self-driving mode
Make driving style preferences more accessible through the landing page
LoFi UI 1
Provide more context to how Emotion Recognition Technology is used within the AV
Differentiate between in-car (emotional recognition) and out-of-car (safety) notifications
Mid-Fi Wireframes - Set Up Screens in Light Mode
MidFi UI 1
Appreciated different layout choices
MidFi UI 2
MidFi UI 3 - ERT
Less text is good
Lo-Fi Wireframes - Navigation & Alerts
LoFi UI 4
Users want the physical experience of the static tactile buttons
LoFi UI 5
Navigation was easy to follow
Need more control over alerts and notifications
Notifications need to be more visible
LoFi UI 6
Mid-Fi Wireframes - Navigation & Alerts in Light Mode
MidFi UI 4
MidFi UI 5
MidFi UI 6
Visual elements
Some of the copy and terms aren’t clear.
Some features need better explanation, suggested through visuals to easily absorb info.
Too much copy on certain screens, it is hard to digest.
Some greys are too light, not enough contrast.
Final Site Map
Site Map and Key
After further evaluation by users and an expert, Prof. Ascanio Paliano, we were able to define the site map of the car IVI center display, behind the wheel display, and tactile buttons.
User Testing Round 3
6 Participants
Wizard of Oz
Simulator prototype testing
Simulator prototype testing
Simulator prototype testing
Simulator prototype testing
Simulator prototype testing
Simulator prototype testing
Driving felt natural and very realistic
The speed felt natural and speedometer readings felt accurate
Braking needs to be more powerful
Users got lost a few times and didn’t know where to go
Environment felt very bland and empty
Add more relatable environments like city areas
Add signage for directions
Construction scenario works well to make users feel more confident an the AV’s capabilities
Add more scenarios so that people can get a feel for the range of the AV’s capabilities
Section 3
Revolution Pitch
The full test drive experience
Physical model render
In Car UI render
In Car UI render
Onboarding set up
HiFi UI 1
HiFi UI 2
HiFi UI 3
Preference set up
HiFi UI 4
HiFi UI 5
HiFi UI 6
Home Page and Navigation
HiFi UI 7
HiFi UI 8
HiFi UI 9
HiFi UI 10
HiFi UI 11
HiFi UI 12
Emotional Recognition and Notifications
HiFi UI 13
HiFi UI 14
HiFi UI 15
Behind the wheel display
Default Instrument Cluster
Behind the Wheel Display 1
Set Speed and Speed Limit
Behind the Wheel Display 2
Navigation and Construction Alerts
Behind the Wheel Display 3
Alternate Screens on Toggle
Behind the Wheel Display 4
Route planning and scenario renders
To view a more comprehensive process of the physical model and the code for the unity set up, the Rookies Award page goes into detail from my team member's work on the fantastic test drive experience.
test drive route
Test Drive Scenarios
Test Drive Scenarios
Test Drive Scenarios