Manual to autonomous transitions at journey destinations
Where does this transition take place–what constitutes destination? A hotel check-in area? Retail parking lot? Residential driveway? An airport departures gate? How is this transition branded as a commercial experience (when arriving at a resort)? How does this transition mimic or evoke existing commercial experiences (“Welcome to McDonald’s. May I take your order?”) Or how is this transition customized as a personal experience (when arriving at home)? In what ways is this transition functional or utilitarian such as charging the vehicle or – considering cars without emissions – moving through a buildings? In what ways is this transition luxurious or exclusive? What negotiations or compromises might need to be considered as part of this transition? Are vehicle operators allowed to retain some vehicle control inside a building as long as they maintain a certain speed or trajectory? How are the terms of these negotiations and compromises conveyed and confirmed?
Vehicles communicating with ‘outside’ people such as pedestrians, cyclists, other drivers
Pedestrians, cyclists, and traffic control personnel rely on a range of impromptu or informal gestures (eye contact, hand waves, head nods, etc.) to negotiate traffic. How does a vehicle gesture or otherwise indicate its intentions? How do vehicles acknowledge, accept, or reject the intentions of other people, vehicles, and officials? Are vehicle gestures a branded behavior, unique to each vehicle model, or are vehicle gestures a uniform behavior dictated by traffic safety regulations? How do people, other vehicles, and surroundings adjust to the sensor fields and thresholds of vehicles? Do traffic control personnel wear special markings and sensor triggers? Do pedestrians and cyclists use augmented reality displays to visualize the trajectories and sensor fields of vehicles around them?
The vehicle as a remote extension of its user
What tasks, activities, and anomalies might become common when a vehicle’s sensors are remotely accessible? Does the vehicle patrol the user’s neighborhood during the night? Does the vehicle become a flaneur when not in use during the daytime, recording interesting sights and sounds around the city for its user to browse during the commute home? How is might the vehicle serve as an outpost, a probe, or a proxy? How would people – neighbors, friends, enemies – feel about that? What default behaviors does the vehicle revert to when the user abruptly abandons the vehicle during a traffic jam? Does the vehicle return home, continue on to the destination, or find a location to await instructions? What channels are typical between user and vehicle? Is there a constant video feed available or does the vehicle checkin occasionally with news and updates? What actions does the vehicle take as a biometric sensor of its user? Does it “know” its user based on biometrics and uniquely respond to that person? Does the vehicle increase and decrease speed as a function of the user’s heart rate or intime with the user’s soundtrack?
Vehicle as entity, acquiring memories, conveying different personalities
What activities, destinations, and events does the vehicle remember? Which does it forget? Does the vehicle “memory” begin in the factory? Does it celebrate a birthday? When would vehicle history logs need to be accessed? Who would have access to them? What details are recorded in the vehicle’s history? Can the user “clear” the history? Do vehicles offer “incognito” or “private” driving modes? How does a vehicle convey “smartness”? How does it make users feel safe? How transparent is the decision making process in which the vehicle engages? Is this a conversation that the vehicle engages in with the user, or a display on the dashboard? How does a vehicle ask for help in negotiating complicated situations? Does the vehicle set off alarms and flashing lights, or politely interject in the user’s conversation? How is vehicle interface and artificial intelligence a branded experience? Are some brands known for having very blunt, serious a.i. systems? Are some a.i. systems better suited for children and families?
Collective experiences, groups across multiple vehicles
How do self-driving vehicles impact cultural notions of the “commons”? Do freeways become more like piazzas, public squares, or promenades? Are roadways places to see and be seen by others? How does the built environment, signage, and architectural vernacular respond when people no longer have to focus on driving? Do billboards become personalized and contextualized? How can you make mischief on the roadway? How do you ‘tickle’ or ‘poke’ the car in front of you? How do networks of vehicles coalesce and what are the outcomes? What does a pop-up farmer’s market on the highway look like and how does it emerge? How do users express identity, personalization, and customization, if no longer through driving style? How does the vehicle govern or manage the ecology of devices within it? Does the vehicle decide to take control when a passenger hands the driver a tablet device? Does the vehicle “chat” with devices in the car to update the destination or change the driving experience?
Branding and customization
What vehicle features and specialities rise to the level of exterior branding, badging, and nameplating? What are the luxury packages and custom options that users can elect to add-on? How are vehicles tailored, personalized, and imprinted to the user? What role does the dealership or factory play in these scenarios? How does social networking and digital display impact exterior branding? Does the vehicle seekout Facebook likes? Does it share the photos that it takes to its own Instagram account? Does a vehicle accumulate digital bumper stickers that reflect the variety and exotic spectrum of destinations its visited? How could smart badging change with context and surroundings, but still reflect the identity and messaging of the brand and user? Are exterior displays more statistical/quantitative (how many vehicles the user has generously allowed to merge during traffic jams) or expressive/qualitative (Facebook likes that the vehicle has garnered)? How do users choose and customize driving experiences? Can you draganddrop a police chase from your favorite Hollywood blockbuster onto your morning commute? Can you generate a mashup to make your crosscountry trip feel like a tickertape parade? Is there a Pandora app to mix, customize, and share driving experiences? How does the dealership experience incorporate and reflect new vehicle technologies? Do users take test drives at home using Oculus goggles and their gaming consoles? What is the future of simulation in dealerships, assembly lines, and elsewhere? Can users try demo versions of vehicle software packages on their own vehicle – is a semitruck’s operating system compatible with a sedan?
Vehicle as cultural space for media production and consumption
What media does a vehicle produce and share when it is covered in an array of high definition video cameras, still cameras, microphones, and other sensors? Do vehicles tap into image and video feeds generated by buildings, infrastructure, and other vehicles in the vicinity? Do vehicles collect and share media purely for entertainment, or are there functional purposes to recording as well? Does the vehicle at the front of a traffic jam share its video feed with vehicles stuck behind it? Do vehicles automatically generate media packages for emergency responders, police, and prosecutors at the moment an accident occurs? How is this media conveyed to these entities? Do exterior windows convey passenger vital signs to emergency responders as they arrive on the scene of an accident? How do sensor arrays in and around the vehicle augment the user’s senses and the experience of mobility? Can you stitch together images from exterior video arrays to create a view of the car from above? Can you see into buildings, through mountains, and around corners? Can the vehicle perform noise-canceling on its mechanical sounds to let you hear the countryside without vehicle noise as you drive through it?