Exploring the ever-evolving world of HMI solutions

HMI solutions R1hbapm

In brief

The explosive growth of the automotive HMI industry is due, in part, to C.A.S.E.: an important acronym shaping the future of driving: Connectivity, Autonomous, Sharing/Subscription and Electrification. These megatrends create challenges and opportunities for HMI development and make HMI solutions more important than ever before. To better understand the current HMI landscape and the design trends shaping its future, the Star Automotive & Mobility team spearheaded a global market research project. What we learned will help your automotive company create HMI solutions that reflect C.A.S.E technologies while standing out from the crowd.

Automotive human-machine interface (HMI) is an interface or dashboard that allows a driver or passenger to interact with the vehicle. While human-machine interface in cars has always been important, a number of factors are causing OEMs to emphasize HMI solution design more so than ever. For one, automakers are tasked with communicating large amounts of information to drivers without distracting or hindering. Additionally, they must harness emerging technologies that meet driver expectations for connectivity and seamless communication.

The electric car movement is further accelerating the maturation of the landscape and contributing to HMI development trends. By 2030, an estimated 52% of new vehicle sales will be all-electric, according to research from KPMG. Automotive manufacturers need to make it easy for drivers to manage vehicle charging needs from the electric vehicle interface. As important, though, is creating a unique in-car experience that appeals to EV owners’ discerning taste and affinity for cutting-edge tech. 

Star intimately understands the challenges innovators are facing when it comes to C.A.S.E and modern HMI solutions. We help our partners create scalable, user-centric HMI solutions that reflect best practices while challenging the status quo. Based on our experience and market research, we identified key trends in HMI design today, and in the near future – many of which relate to C.A.S.E. We are happy to share a few highlights from our analysis.

HMI for EVs_trend report by Star

For more on the automotive HMI landscape and its projected evolution, download a copy of the Star HMI design research report.

Wave “hello” to hands-free HMI solutions

Forget the “traditional” way of interfacing with vehicle HMI. Knobs, levers, and even touchscreens are making way for new modes of communication in vehicle interfaces, including voice and gesture. And why limit drivers to one option? Increasingly, vehicle HMI supports multiple modes of communication so users have flexibility and choice. 

The Sony Vision-S 02 includes a sensor to monitor lip movement so the car can read lips. Drivers and passengers can use advanced speech recognition technology to control audio and navigation systems, even in noisy environments. Alternatively, they can swipe to a new display screen by making an L-shape gesture with their hands. The DS Aero Sport Lounge, an electric, semi-autonomous concept car, also supports gesture control and haptics so people don’t have to bother with touchscreens.

And let’s not forget the growth of in-car assistants! The HMI solutions research report highlights automotive innovators that are using in-car companions as hands-free mobility solutions for customizing the driver experience and performing a wide range of tasks. Whether it is a cobot like the one Star helped design for NIO, an invisible smart assistant, or a hologram, AI assistants significantly expand car-to-driver and driver-to-car-to-world communication and enhance in-car infotainment experiences. 

While in-car assistants have become table stakes, one frustrating interaction is enough to make a user swear off their voice assistant for good. So, you better get your experience right and reflect HMI development best practices in your design. 

HMI technology + Hollywood
magic = immersive in-car experiences

As car companies say goodbye to analog displays and, in some cases, even wheels, they are taking inspiration from the movies and gaming sector to design next-level displays and functions. Dashboards and backseat experiences work in tandem to create unforgettable moments with automakers using augmented, virtual and extended reality elements, 3D visualization (like the real-time 3D navigation system in the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX, a solar-powered concept car) and synchronized light and sound shows. The effect is a futuristic vehicle HMI that appeals to car lovers and tech enthusiasts alike.  

Epitomizing the Hollywood/Automotive HMI engineering overlap, BMW tapped Academy-Award-winning film score composer Hans Zimmer to create the “IconicSounds Electric,” a library of sounds for the all-electric BMW iX M60 designed to create a more emotionally-charged driving experience. Another fun example of immersive automotive HMI development is in the Cadillac Lyriq SUV, which makes mundane tasks like adjusting the temperature feel more like a video game by using interactive 3D models. Cadillac is one of several OEMs using gamification elements to transform human-machine interfaces in cars. 


Intelligent connective technology powers new capabilities for the HMI industry

Between 2018 and 2022, more than 125 million passenger cars with embedded connectivity are expected to ship worldwide, according to Counterpoint Research. The advancement of intelligent connectivity technology is forever changing HMI solutions, allowing drivers and passengers to engage with the vehicle and the outside world in new ways through next-gen automotive interfaces. Automakers are using apps as mobility solutions, too. Porsche customers can charge their car from the Porsche app and access charge levels and mileage data. Some car models even allow consumers to control intelligent home products from the cabin, an exciting development in HMI technology. 

The more cars learn, the better they can anticipate a user’s needs and make smart recommendations, whether that is proposing an alternate route based on traffic patterns or suggesting a nearby attraction based on the driver’s interest. In fact, Audi drivers benefit from the “knowledge” of their peers with Audi Car-to-X services. These capabilities glean data from more than 100,000 connected Audi vehicles around the world. Possible learnings include updates on road hazards and even parking spaces,  meaning cars can alert one another when they have left a spot. How is that for teamwork? The possibilities for additional, data-backed mobility solutions are nearly limitless and will continue to influence the human-machine interface market.

Those are just a few of the learnings from our HMI design report. Companies are also using automotive HMI to reduce range anxiety, improve safety outcomes, and much more. For the full scoop on HMI trends and the impact of C.A.S.E on the market, be sure to download our research report. If you are facing your own automotive HMI engineering or design challenge, we would love to chat.

Here at Star, we are experts at spotting fresh ideas. Our proven, human-centric design process enables us to bring game-changing mobility solutions to market, fast, and help clients reimagine vehicle interfaces.


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