2014-15_2 New Car Experiences

We will consider the car, equipped with imagined future (but credible) sensing and computation technologies and imagine new experiences and find novel narratives about our future day-to-day lives (with respect to technology). There will be two general areas of investigation: degrees or types of mediation and connectivity between car users and environments outside the car; and degrees or types of autonomy and the role of trust in the car user experience.

In the realm of mediation and connectivity, questions will be pursued such as: What are the new multimedia possibilities for the driver and passenger? What kind of cultural space is created inside the vehicle? What are the different mods and qualities of augmentation, from the ‘transparent’ car to the cinematic or social journey–a journey through the city’s social networks? Is the smart car a safe space in an ‘alien’ (untrusted) landscape? Is it embedded in the electronic dimensionality of the city? What if we consider the smart car to be an elaborately hybridized ‘third space’ that exists at the threshold of palpable local and in tangible internet-based domains?

Research into degrees of autonomy and the role of trust in the car user experience will unpack ideas such as “smartness” or “autonomy” in the context of trust. Potential questions include: Do drivers care about how a system achieves its “smarts”> What are the degrees of psychological and physiological comfort with respect to different qualities of mediation, augmentation, and automations? What kinds of relationships might develop between drivers and their autonomous cars? What would be the effect of different levels of transparency with respect to sensing and computation? Users, drivers, passengers, riders, pilots, or co-pilots? What does transitioning from driver to passenger feel like? How do degrees of seamfulness of systems affect the experience? Who can you trust if there is a deregulated marketplace of systems and providers? What are the ethics of system design with respect to autonomy? What happens when the rules change? How much do you trust a self-driving car?

Faculty: Ben Hooker, Tim Durfee