This research initiative explores methods for augmenting and deepening the relationship between a vehicle and its driver(s) over the course of its lifecycle. Using a variety of in-car and cloud-based computing technologies, the USC Mobile and Environmental Media Lab is developing a suite of integrated real-time applications that monitor and analyze the activities of both driver and vehicle in order to safely and seamlessly present and archive customized storytelling, interaction, play, and social experiences across a range of devices and contexts. This interdependent “ecosystem” of analytics, interactive systems and visualizations is intended to produce an evolving and ever-deepening relationship between car and driver, making the vehicle, its subsystems, and the spaces it traverses more intelligible, meaningful, and emotionally engaging.
The USC Mobile and Environmental Media Lab conceives of a personalized contextual interactive system centered on the unique relationships that exist between individual vehicles and their drivers. Such a system addresses traditional onboard vehicular interface use cases of wayfinding, efficiency monitoring, and handset media player connectivity within the context of an adaptive playful and social narrative engagement. By storing and analyzing in real-time both in-car sensor data and extra-vehicular contextual information regarding user milestones, driving patterns, and proximity to other users or relevant geospatial nodes, vehicles equipped with our system can offer their drivers a range of visualizations, procedurally-curated media archives, and playful experiences tailor-made to their unique usage and engagement profiles.
Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, our system is designed to analyze not only the ways that drivers engage with space, media, and other drivers, but also the ways in which drivers choose (or refuse) to engage with the system itself. This iterative feedback loop between vehicle and driver creates an increasingly customized and granular palette of interactions and behaviors that constitute a unique, emergent, and constantly-evolving “character” for the vehicle. Finally, by storing user profile and vehicle character parameters in the cloud, the system can be accessed via a variety of onboard and extra-vehicular interfaces, including touchscreen devices, laptops, and smart phones, extending the vehicle-driver relationship beyond the confines of the cockpit.
Download Paper: Ambient Storytelling For Vehicle-Driver Interaction