when was the last time your road trip wasn't dulled, by the exhaustion from driving?
Empowered with a self-driving RV, Odyssea is a lively road trip experience without the hassles of driving and parking. The mobile app acts as a control center for the RV and as a trip planner. But seriously though, if the experience was any more lively, the project would introduce itself.
Visual Design, Motion Design
10 Weeks. Solo project for Visual Interaction Design class, in M.Des at California College of the Arts.
Essential trip information is in the palm of your hand in real-time, with lively motion peppered in.
Now even the driver can take a peaceful nap while the RV drives itself.
Need some sun? Control the sunroof or any of the RV's functions with just one touch.
Get sunbathed while on the move.
No parking hassles whatsoever. Go hike while the RV parks itself. Call it to you where you need it when you need it. Comfort on demand.
Bonus: Hungry from the hike? Let it bring food to you on the way!
No traveling experience is complete without a (good) travel guide.
Odyssea’s friendly voice engine can distinguish between multiple voices, prompt suggestions preemptively, and has strong opinions on everything. Even pizza.
People who love road trips understand that not all aspects of it are pleasant - parking spaces, overnight stays, etc. Also, the pandemic has changed the traveling industry forever - people's trust in hotels and flights is at a steady decline.
48% of Americans chose road trips, as compared to only 25% for flights.
33% chose to stay for exactly two nights for their next overnight vacation.
57% said that traveling is directly related to their mental well-being.
The goal now was to understand the experience of a road trip vacation. I conducted four one-on-one interviews with (frequent to moderately frequent) road trippers - some had dogs, some had kids, but almost all of them had common feelings about a typical road trip:
Below is a typical two-night road trip vacation mapped out against the overall feeling of the main driver. Drivers and passengers may switch their roles, but even then the physical and mental exhaustion between the to-and-fro from the hotel is detrimental to the trip's experience.
Attention Against Fun
Drivers need to be more conscious and focused on the road, which takes away from their overall experience.
Small But Trustworthy
Cozy settings with friends and family are now more preferred than flights and hotels.
People who take road trips care not just about the destination but the experience of getting to it.
The full Odyssea experience will consist of the Smart RV itself, a Mobile Assistant to control the trip and the RV, and a network of maintenance hubs that are both for the RV's refueling and housekeeping.
I chose the mobile app as my primary touchpoint for now, as it is the most interactive for travelers.
These specific principles were inspired by my research participants' favorite brands. They are chosen to make the self-driving experience (which is still a nascent one) more inviting and more trustworthy to newcomers:
Controls are based on natural and familiar visuals, in order to increase comfort in interacting with them.
Travelers are more likely to try out something new if they feel a sense of wonder or fun in doing it.
Too much information would be overwhelming and against a carefree experience. A balance is essential.
The rich color choices reflect liveliness. Type choices reinforce familiarity - Avenir is crisp and therefore a good fit for showing information. SF Compact has a roundness that goes well with the roundness of the control tabs.
I tested the concept and the prototype with my primary research participants. I also asked for feedback from experts like Uber ATG and Zoox designers. Here's what they had to say about Odyssea:
Partnering up with food delivery services like Doordash, Grubhub, etc. for order-on-the-go delivery, is something to consider for further iterations.
Designing the RV itself, and how it's going to integrate with only voice control instead of a touchscreen inside, is going to be the next experiential step.
Travelers might still reside in the vehicle during its maintenance at the resource center, then their experience at the resource center would also be a future concern.
This is my first attempt at focusing on visual design and brand alignment (and also my favorite project as of right now). I learned a lot about motion easing, micro-interactions, and voice design. I also got to learn more about autonomous mobility and what its future might look like.
Overall, this was a lively trip. (pun intended)
(Yes, people do use Outlook too.)
Copyright © Hardik Kumar. All illustrations are hand-crafted (with an enormous amount of care) so please use them with credit and for educational purposes only. Thanks!
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