Navigation Technology: Digital experience meets real world

HERE Technologies makes innovative, trendsetting technologies tangible prior to their official release

An important step towards autonomous driving: a cooperation between software company HERE Technologies and premium car manufacturer Audi showcases what navigation systems of the future have to offer. In September 2017, HERE presented their latest navigation technology in a joint project with Audi at IAA, one of the world’s most important trade fairs of the automobile industry. The question to be answered was pretty straight-forward: How do you show a yet to be released, forward-thinking system to journalists, analysts, partners and, most importantly, to consumers? And how to do all of that without showing the actual product?

If you can’t show it, simulate!

The novelty in the Audi A8: multiple features on multiple screens. Where you might have found analogue speedometers before, you will now see screens. A lot of screens. In fact, the entire cockpit is about to become one big screen! Wanting to highlight this development, Wildstyle Network’s UX-team created a user journey on two transparent OLED displays which are a challenge to work with in and of themselves. Everything works differently. Touch doesn’t equal touch and the multidimensional nature of those screens has the potential to push UI- and UX-teams to the limits of their abilities. However, the advantages of transparent OLED screens for this type of project are undeniable. Find out more in this Video.

Unlike other navigation systems, the is accessible on multiple screens. Furthermore, the Audi MMI System does a lot more than just navigating you from point A to point B. One of its numerous additional features are optimized route recommendations based on live traffic and potential hazard information. Another highlight feature is the pre-trip planning which allows users to start navigation and route planning via mobile app while they are still at home. Once you get into the car, navigation to your destination will start seamlessly. Even after the car is parked, navigation will continue on your smartphone until you have reached your final destination. Highlighting these features was the intent behind creating the IAA user experience. After completing a brief prototype series, the team was sure that their concept would make a lasting impression with visitors.

Navigation technology meets agile software development

In order for the individual screens to work together perfectly, we decided to use Unity, a development framework – or engine – which we admittedly had limited experience with prior to this project. Originally developed for game design, this software quickly turned into a real booster. With limited time to realize this project, the team managed to achieve great results quickly – a clickable video experience which emulates sitting in the cockpit of the new Audi A8:

The next step: an online experience

In addition to the IAA experience, we decided to use the existing video content to conceptualize and program a HERE website. This gave us the opportunity to introduce the cooperation between HERE and Audi to audiences beyond those visiting the trade fair. The result is a remix of the original demonstration in the form of a web experience.

To read the German version of the article, please click here.

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