In keeping with our mission of using the ProKarma blog to share insights and solutions, we are kicking off a series of posts highlighting some of our work with clients in a variety of industries, from the Internet of Things to mobile health, retail, energy and more.
We’d like to start by telling you about a working prototype we developed that brought to life a vision of a future in which drivers can enjoy a safer, more personalized experience. Our client, a leading design and innovation consultancy, called on ProKarma to develop software for a proof of concept for one of the world’s largest semiconductor chip makers. As consumers increasingly look for ways to bring the digital experience into their cars, the semiconductor giant wanted to capitalize on a number of trends bringing technology and automobiles closer together.
To kick off the project, ProKarma fueled a brainstorming session with scientists working for the semiconductor manufacturer and with the clients’ lead designers to come up with user experiences in a connected world, looking five to 10 years ahead. We wanted to be able to create a highly personalized driving experience by addressing a variety of user needs, such as: being notified when a child’s soccer practice is over and finding the best route to the field given current traffic; having the car recognize a passenger based on weight and music choices, allowing the car to intuitively play his or her favorite music; or being able to present the menu of a coffee shop a passenger points to and asks about.
The team wanted to develop a proof of concept that facilitated all of those scenarios, and more, with the ability to tie each to the telematics in the vehicle so that they could present information about the car or the immediate environment on a Heads-Up Display (HUD), which is a transparent panel that does not require the drivers to look away from their usual viewpoints; on infotainment panels; or by giving the car a voice. ProKarma recommended the use of the Message Queue for Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol, which was later proposed as the standard for the Internet of Things, to pass data between the various systems in the vehicle.
The team then developed a computer simulation of what it would be like to drive the connected car through a city, complete with traffic and stoplights, using the cross-platform Unity Engine, which is one of the most popular licensed 3D game engines. ProKarma used Android tablets to simulate console displays and dashboard panels, which were incorporated into a prototype vehicle simulation buck (VSB) and demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), an internationally renowned electronics and technology trade show. The VSB was developed using .NET, SQL Servers and the Unity Engine.
The end result was a working prototype that furthered a vision of the future that not only intuitively gathers more knowledge for drivers to interact with their vehicles but also makes the roads safer.