Beyond driving

Funded research project by Matthias Laschke, Kai Eckoldt and Marc Hassenzahl | 2012 (12 months)
In cooperation with BMW Research and Technology | Dr. Josef Schumann


The car is a place for most divers experiences. It is a place for good conversations with others (even if they are physically not present), to explore simulating landscapes and is our connection between our loved ones and us. In design and HCI different projects (e.g. Knobel, 2012 or Juhlin, 2010) address particular situations and psychological needs.

Based on a literature review and explorative interviews, we designed a concepts called “The perfect commuting time”. It intertwines several experiences in one interactive concept inside the car. The concept is located in the field of e-mobility.

The perfect commuting time

Commuting is a well-know activity for most car drivers. Commuting itself is based on routines. We know the route and feel free to contemplate. Our concept is intended to improve wellbeing while commuting. We wanted to create a “perfect” commuting time. Therefore the concept addresses several aspects of commuting. Each single aspect addresses different basic psychological needs.

At first there is a difference between to go to work and to get in from work. To go to work should be considered as a transformation from private- to business-person. However, to get in from work is often related to do some shopping, meet with friends, or our loved ones.

For instance, if we go to work, we do not want to experience stress or anxiety. Our concept provides a short overview of the traffic situation (e.g. traffic jams) already at the breakfast table. Based on this knowledge we could relax and take another cup of coffee.

Moreover we want to feel related to people at our place of arrival. Saying “Hallo” to colleagues and to let them know that we will arrive in the next few minutes satisfies our (and their) need for relatedness.

Although we are familiar with the route, it changes every day. Based on newsfeeds (e.g. Google News) the system provides location-based news that are thought-provoking and stimulating.

If we get in from work, we probably want to meet with our loved ones. Beside places (i.e. addresses) we can also chose people as a destination. Our car guides us to the person that confirmed to be located. Finally you meet him/her at an unexpected place.

For a detailed description please watch the video.

Knobel, M., Hassenzahl, M., Lamara, M., Sattler, T., Schumann, J., Eckoldt, K., & Butz, A. (2012). Clique Trip. In Proceedings of the Designing Interactive Systems Conference - DIS ’12 (pp. 29–37). New York, NY, USA: ACM Press.

Juhlin, O. (2010). Social Media on the Road (p. 201). London, UK: Springer.