NIO is a pioneer in China’s premium electric vehicle market. Founded in 2014, NIO’s mission is to shape a joyful lifestyle for its users by offering premium smart electric vehicles. NIO started the deliveries of the ES8, a 7-seater high-performance premium electric SUV, in China only 4 years later. To challenge established car brands even more, NIO set out to bridge the domains of IT, automotive and lifestyle. Star came in when NIO needed support for one of their most visionary ideas: an artificial intelligence named ‘Nomi’.
- Winner of a 2020 Red Dot Design Award
- Lovable and helpful robot for the emotional bond between driver and vehicle
- World-first device to establish trust between passengers and AI
- Co-creation between Munich-based NIO UI/UX team and Star to envision and design ‘Nomi’
- Involved in holistic design process, including user journeys, industrial design, UX and visuals
- Creative partner for video prototypes and Nomi features and personality
- Extensive visual asset implementation support
- Today’s absolute benchmark for emotional in-car AI
Through Nomi, NIO set out to weave an emotional bond between their vehicles and the people in them. The result was to be radically new—both for the automotive industry and in consumer electronics.
A unique challenge! But thanks to NIO, their knowledge of the Chinese market and their design strategy, we started a very successful collaboration.
Together, we tackled such questions as: How could Nomi play an important role regarding the emotional link between the car and its user? How could Nomi appear both premium, to match the car, and appealing, to charm the user?
The Munich-based NIO UI/UX team had already defined key use case clusters—the perfect starting point for Star to envision and sketch driving scenarios on features and interactions.
NIO also knew that Nomi would live on the car’s dashboard. With this in mind, the team used rapid cardboard mockups to gauge the exact size and position. They then used illuminated 3D models to help define the right balance between looking inviting and being discreet.
Next, the teams used video prototypes to simulate Nomi’s motion and screen design in a near-realistic way. We iterated this process until Nomi’s functional and emotional levels were fully aligned, the personality was life-like and the applied technology was clear.
On the road to production, NIO implemented both hardware and software, while Star delivered designs and specifications to orchestrate the physical kinetics and on-screen visuals.
Nomi is the first of its kind. Within the field of automotive, it has received major international attention and is considered the absolute benchmark for emotional in-car AI. Nomi also won a 2020 Red Dot Design Award. In connection with the award, the Jury stated, “This AI system sparks enthusiasm with an intuitive way of interacting and has a high emotional component thanks to the likeable and expressive animated face.”
The entire Star team wants to thank NIO for this unique cooperation! We’re so pleased to see our fruitful collaboration rewarded with a prestigious design award.
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“Nomi is an avatar of artificial intelligence. She’ll entertain you with a music playlist, adjust the temperature, or snap a selfie on command. This is Chinese innovation!”
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“One of the world’s most adorable in-vehicle virtual assistant.”
“A fun, expressive, and intuitive companion”
“The artificial intelligence integrated into the NIO ES8 SUV — which also features in the ‘NOMI’ digital companion (pictured on the right) — attests to the car’s roots in the high-tech sector.”
“The most other-worldly thing in here is the voice assistant.”
- Co-creation workshops
- Product and Service vision
- User Experience design
- Digital design