Fast, sustainable and innovative: automotive testing & prototyping

Thomas Helmer
Dominik Fink

by Thomas Helmer, Dominik Fink

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How can automakers create more value for their customers and make the best use of the latest technologies? How can they improve their product experience to stay relevant in an ever-evolving market? In the automotive industry, success hinges on prototyping and testing.

Leap into the world of automotive prototyping! During Munich Creative Business Week, we brought together business leaders and automotive designers to discuss the critical role of prototyping and testing in the automotive industry. We also shared our proven testing methods that have helped our clients streamline their product development pipelines and launch winning mobility experiences. 

Watch our on-demand webinar on automotive testing & prototyping now to explore:

Delve into the essentials to understand prototyping's vital role in producing safe, reliable and effective products while reducing costs.

Why automakers must prioritize prototyping

From BMW to Volkswagen, Toyota and SAIC, global automakers are investing billions in improving the in-car experience through HMI technologies, including voice commands, touchscreens, interior-facing cameras, head-up displays, and multifunctional controllers. We know that the automotive market leaders of tomorrow will be those that win the technology arms race. 

But how do you know what technologies to bet in? How do you introduce novel experiences without alienating your core customers? This is why research and prototyping are essential. The solution is not as simple as “let’s put in a bunch of large screens throughout the vehicle.” Instead, it requires deep user and market understanding. 

Automotive testing & prototyping


  • Reduces development time and costs: Prototyping allows designers to validate their design concepts, identify flaws or limitations, and make necessary adjustments before moving forward with mass production – avoiding expensive rework and ensuring the final product meets customer expectations and regulatory requirements. In addition, selecting appropriate tools further optimizes the prototyping process, reducing development time and costs.
  • Increase customer satisfaction: Prototyping and Testing can help automotive companies understand customer preferences and expectations. By incorporating customer feedback early in the design process, companies can create products that meet or exceed customer expectations, driving innovation and competitiveness. 
  • Acquire more informative and reliable data: By shifting towards more accurate and detailed prototypes, it becomes possible to unlock more reliable resulting data for further refinement. This leads to a more iterative and efficient design process, where feedback from testing can be used to improve and refine the product.
  • Facilitates collaboration and communication: Prototyping brings together different departments and stakeholders, including designers, engineers, and customers. This collaborative process helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals, resulting in a better product that meets the needs of all parties involved.

In short, prototyping is a crucial tool for the automotive industry to remain agile and responsive to disruption, while also driving innovation and ensuring that new technologies are fully tested and optimized before they reach consumers.

Navigating the unique requirements of the automotive industry with automotive prototyping services

automotive prototyping services

Safety, ergonomics, multisensory experiences, and strict regulations are just a few of the challenges companies in the automotive face. As the industry continues to evolve, UX design should be adaptable and scalable to accommodate emerging trends and technological advancements. 

The goal must always be to provide a consistent and immersive user experience while meeting all necessary requirements. As such it’s crucial to balance the complexities of prototyping and testing in the automotive industry, including:

  • Safety: Users are challenged by many senses (visual, audition, touch) that require attention. Therefore we need to test it.
  • Ergonomics: Users spend a considerable amount of time in cars. Is the product comfortable and simple enough especially for long commutes?
  • Multisensory: Users use touchscreens, voice commands and gesture controls. Are your technologies easy and intuitive to use? 
  • Highly regulated ecosystem: Automotive is subject to strict regulations. UX designs should comply with these regulations.
  • The rapidly evolving playing field: The industry is constantly changing. UX designs should be adaptable and scalable to accommodate emerging trends and technological advancements.

Understanding prototyping options and concept development journey

automotive prototyping options

At Star, we believe in an iterative approach to prototyping and testing. We create a prototype, evaluate it, and make necessary changes until we reach our goal. Automotive prototypes fall into four distinct areas: service, experience, physical, and virtual. Service prototypes help us understand user needs and turn vision into reality, while experience prototypes test behavior, usability, and technical limitations. 

Physical prototypes explore functions and user reactions to physical products and offer high-fidelity experiences, including haptics, despite their potential cost. On the other hand, virtual prototypes are fast and cost-effective, opening up a wide range of applications and scenarios.

As there is no one-size-fits-all approach, start by understanding your users and move forward on your journey accordingly.

Deliver high-quality, cost-effective products that exceed customer expectations

Automotive prototyping is critical for delivering high-quality products that exceed customer expectations, ensure quality and safety, reduce development costs, and minimize time to market. That’s why we’re working with the world’s leading automotive manufacturers to harness it. Learn how to start leveraging automotive prototyping for your brand and preview our work with BMW, SAIC, NIO, Panasonic, and more here


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Thomas Helmer
Principal Designer at Star

Thomas is a German Product Designer who likes working on projects that use technology in smart ways for a better user experience. His primary focus is in the field of automotive and consumer electronics. Thomas is passionate about visualizing and creating 3D models, great storytelling, and staying current with emerging technology.

Automotive testing & prototyping Rapkbapm
Dominik Fink
UX Designer at Star

Dominik’s work lies at the intersection of new technologies, problem-solving and devising future concepts. He is a specialist in connected services and a lecturer for UX-Design and Digital Culture at the University of Applied Sciences Schwäbisch Gmünd.

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