AutoPlay – driving pleasure in a future of autonomous driving

Krome, S 2016, AutoPlay – driving pleasure in a future of autonomous driving, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Media and Communication, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title AutoPlay – driving pleasure in a future of autonomous driving
Author(s) Krome, S
Year 2016
Abstract Automated driving technologies promise a relief from stressful or frustrating driving situations. Fully-autonomous cars of the future are expected to take over the responsibilities of driving and allow the now inactive driver to perform much more engaging non-driving activities than ever before. However, the design space of the autonomous driving situation is uniquely different from traditional driving. For example, research on advanced driving automation systems have shown that the transfer of the driving task from the driver to the system can be experienced as a loss of autonomy and competency and may result in a feeling of being at the mercy of technology. Furthermore, the relationship with our cars is not only instrumental. The car is a personal artefact, an extension of the driver’s body connoted with feelings of independence and power. The car’s emancipation to an autonomous agent require a new basis of interacting with the inactive driver to facilitate a pleasurable and meaningful driving experience.

On the other hand, the relief from the driving task provides a unique opportunity for new types of activities during the piloted journey, amongst them, new forms of in-situ entertainment and games that are grounded in the contextual specificity of the automotive, mobile situation. This leads to the research objectives: What type of activities can support autonomous driving as pleasurable and meaningful? How should they be implemented to compensate for the constraints and drawbacks of the autonomous driving situation, but also to take advantage of the unique affordances of this new technology?

To answer those questions, I designed and developed three working prototypes with the goal to envision future autonomous driving as a pleasurable and meaningful activity. Based on a research-through-design approach, I explored the potentials of the design space of autonomous driving by systematically aligning the core-interactions of the prototypes with the contextual constraints of dense urban traffic. Furthermore, I studied the impact of the three prototypes on the driving experience in a simulator set up as well as in a series of in-car user studies. This exegesis introduces the three prototypes as design artefacts and reflects on the findings of the complementary user studies. In doing so, it articulates a novel frame for understanding autonomous driving as a future design challenge for contextual activities.

This research contributes to the increasing importance of user experience and game design in the automotive domain. As such, the contribution is threefold: (1) As design artefacts, the prototypes articulate a desired future of driving experiences in autonomous cars. (2) As a contextual design practice, the research contributes intermediate knowledge in the form of novel ideation methods and implementation strategies of non-driving activities. (3) As a conceptual frame for understanding autonomous driving, I propose three motivational affordances of autonomous driving (that were tangible experiences of the prototypes) as targets for aligning non-driving activities.

The three prototypes presented in this exegesis articulate a desired pleasurable vision of autonomous driving of the future. As an inspirational frame, the three prototypes are studied to gain experiential insights into the challenge of designing pleasurable and meaningful non- driving interactions in a future autonomous driving context.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Media and Communication
Subjects Design Innovation
Design Practice and Management not elsewhere classified
Interactive Media
Keyword(s) Autonomous driving
User experience
Gameful and playful design
Situational awareness
Contextual design
Motivational affordances
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Created: Fri, 07 Apr 2017, 11:08:16 EST by Adam Rivett
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