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Title: Design for luxury automotive HMI systems and driver experiences
Author: Yardım Şener, S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 0116
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2019
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Luxury is predominantly discussed within marketing, economics and psychology literature, with little research made into the practicalities of designing for luxury products and experiences. This thesis addresses the lack of an evidence base from which to design and virtually prototype luxury automotive HMI (human-machine interaction) systems. The work involved five interconnected studies and two industrial partners: Bentley Motors – manufacturers of luxury automobiles; and the VEC (Virtual Engineering Centre) – a consultancy and R&D organization specialising in digital simulation. In Study 1, a literature review was conducted to build a foundation for the research, providing definitions of luxury and investigating attributes of luxury products, cars and experiences. Four distinct luxury values were identified: financial, symbolic, functional and experiential. Study 2 comprised a benchmarking field study using immersion methods. The HMI system for four luxury cars was analysed to reveal state-of-the-art uses of interaction technologies and control/interaction details. The study provided the researcher with luxury car orientation, whilst uncovering notable tensions in the integration of luxurious design details with advanced interaction and interface technologies. Study 3 comprised the main field research, seeking to deeply probe drivers’ understanding and expectations for HMI systems qualified as providing a luxury experience. Semi-structured in-car interviews were conducted with Bentley Motors employees (n=28). Transcript and video data were processed using grounded theory, verbatim coding and content analysis. The verbatim codes led to a quantitative hierarchy of design criteria for luxury automotive HMI systems. The content analysis provided an exhaustive collection of user constructs that were qualitatively clustered into maps of luxury automotive HMI system and experience dimensions. In combination, the hierarchical design criteria and construct maps provide a set of guidance to assist designers when conceptualizing luxury HMI system interactions and experiences. Study 4 implemented the guidance from Study 3 through a project to ideate a set of 3 luxury HMI system concepts, as inspirational materials for Bentley Motors. A review of new, emerging and unusual (NEU) interaction technologies was made to assist the generation of concepts satisfying the luxury principle of rarity. Finally, in Study 5 a workshop with VEC experts established the plausibility of virtual and augmented reality systems to digitally simulate HMI systems using NEU interactive technologies. Study 5 satisfied a need within Bentley Motors for better understanding of how HMI system design and virtual prototyping could align. The thesis concludes that: (i) user experience goals for luxury automotive HMI systems can be uncovered in a rigorous way through design research; (ii) the design of luxury automotive HMI systems benefits from a new set of a guidance developed from research data without reliance on corporate know-how; and (iii) careful selection of virtual and augmented reality technologies can provide plausible virtual prototyping routes for HMI design concepts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral