BMW Xplore

by Sebastian Gier

BMW Xplore is a mobility service experience concept that elevates the journey and removes pain-points in mobility through a human-centered design and iterative prototyping process. Since the history of human-kind people dream of controlling time and space. Especially when it comes to mobility humans spent a tremendous time moving between places.. The project how mobility will empower people to experience virtual time-travelling, new ways to interact with the augmented space around them and explore the world we are living in. Detailed Description: BMW Xplore is a mobility service experience concept that builds on touchpoints that have been identified after studying peoples behaviours, dreams and problems on long-distance driving. The project contained extensive user research, immersion and iterative prototyping in the context itself - like the vehicle for instance. BMW Xplore offers curated mobility experiences that built on the vehicle as the platform. It gives users an overview of locally available experiences that include required tickets, equipment, digital content and offers users to personalise their experience for example by ordering needed items to deliver them into the vehicle beforehand. All involved people can personalise their experience on the digital platform but also modify the journey and propose things to see along the way. When people arrive at the vehicle they get welcomed by a fully prepared vehicle. The entertainment-system democratised the digital aspect within the vehicle and gives everyone access to music, the route and enables people to discover aspects of their surrounding and destination. In addition, it enables and triggers interaction between people in the vehicle by giving an overview about when the journey becomes interesting and when highlights will appear. It gives all passengers in the vehicle tools, which were usually restricted to the driver, to create a more social and collaborative experience. During the user research, people often told that typically when a passenger made a discovery outside during the journey they were already past the spot when they could react and look out of the window. Generally, there is just a little amount of time to see and explore anything outside due to the speed of the vehicle. Therefore BMW Xplore explores the idea of travelling in time - and empowers people to control their environment. This approach leads to “The Window of the Future” which is based on a TOLED (Transparent-OLED) which enables people to turn their window from transparent to a virtual experience whenever they want. By using the “TimeDrive-Controller” the users can stop the moment and are able to go back in time to take a closer look at what they just passed. This works by using the data and content of the cameras that face outside and enable autonomous driving capabilities of the vehicle. It even allows you to experience slow motion, take a photo/video or travel into the future by using camera content from other vehicles. Another insight from the user research was that people often complain that they forget things they discovered. This can range from a restaurant to an impressive architectural building. The window enables people to bookmark what they discover by pushing the “TimeDrive” downwards which gets synchronised with the app and can be shared. Furthermore, the window acts as an Augmented Reality platform for which other developers can design experiences. The user can choose from a selection of locally available experiences. The user testing revealed that just a little bit of information and storytelling elevates the view experience - often from not relevant to exciting. Ultimately this provides a platform for immersive storytelling and connects people closer to their context. Why does it deserve recognition? The project shows the value of an integrated design approach when it comes to mobility and that a bigger value for users can be generated by combining hardware, software and services - and be not feature and functionally oriented in the first place. It displays the potential of a human-centred design process in the sector of mobility as well as designing based on users problems and dreams to drive design innovation. Designing with empathy, taking a closer look at how people interact in a certain context and get feedback from people during the process have been some of the key factors for the project. Prototyping in the vehicle and trying out concepts to address user needs have been crucial and led to creative solutions from which some even have been patented. The project also displays how digital content and connected services can be a new driver for hardware and geometry requirements. Designing from what type of content people consume and desire can lead to new interior design decisions - ultimately resulting in a more strategic interior design approach. A paper by IPSOS studying 130.000 people led to the conclusion that “looking out of the window” is the most common use case even when vehicles drive themselves. Taking these quantitative and qualitative insights of the project together it highlights that the path of “more screens” for autonomous vehicles is not always right and that we have to design more based on peoples behaviours known from autonomous mobility scenarios like today's plains, taxis or trains. Additionally, BMW Xplore shows how autonomous driving, augmented reality and digital services enable completely new product experiences that differ strongly from today's solutions. The project aimed to design all touchpoints consistently and looked into connecting touchpoints which leads to a very interdisciplinary approach. Reflecting on the immersive AR applications, which allow you to learn and discover, it shows that we can think of solutions where technology can help us to connect closer to our environment and to the once we care rather than dividing us. Finally, the service also highlights the idea of digital solutions that are designed with a long-term mindset and built increasing value to the user over time. Bookmarks in your daily life are stored on your device which creates a library of experiences that can be shared with others. The content from your experience can be automatically generated into video content if desired so the users can focus on the journey itself without pulling out the smartphone at any moment of interest. The project also shows that interior experiences of the future have to be equally and ultimately be designed in the same level of experience-quality for the passengers as for the driver today.

Gold in Interactive Design 2019, Non-Pro
Silver in Digital Tools and Utilities 2019, Non-Pro

BMW Group / Umea Institute of Design
BMW Group

Sebastian Gier, BMW Group / Umea Institute of Design

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