Aptiv + Lyft: Autonomous Vehicle Management
How might we add value to the user experience of not just riders of autonomous vehicles, but those who manage them?
I had many roles for this MVP version of the product that can be attributed to a UX Strategist: business analysis for value propositions, product management, and design lead. My contribution started in September 2018.
I collaborated cross-functionally with other stakeholders in Aptiv, along with UX and visual designers of our software provider.
The MVP product, called Aptiv Command Center, launched at CES 2019 (January 8th, 2019).
I defined user goals, behaviors, and motivations that translated into use cases, product requirements, and design specs.
I gathered, shared, and negotiated consensus with senior stakeholders and development teams, providing an environment for mutual understanding of the vision.
Insights and Ideation
I partnered with cross-functional stakeholders and software providers in defining jobs-to-be-done, features, concepts, ideation, and storytelling.
Strategy and Execution
I provided design direction and frameworks for design execution, to achieve objectives, goals, and definitions of success.
In this case study, I have omitted confidential and sensitive material in order to comply with my non-disclosure agreement with Aptiv. All information you see is of my own, and do not necessarily reflect Aptiv’s.
It's 2018, and autonomous vehicles still invoke awe and wonder to people. We as humans have talked about self-driving cars since the 1920s. While we know that they're out there now, riding them is a completely different expectation. What's even wilder is managing a whole fleet of them.
Because of the nature of autonomous vehicles, it opens a big door about how we can handle them since we can know exactly what the vehicle is "thinking" through data. Knowing what to do with it and how we can add value proposition to the end user experience of not just riders, but those who manage them is the hard part.
Aptiv's mission is to "demonstrate our ability to enable Mobility-centric business models through full control of data collection, transmission, analysis, and management".
With this, my high-level goals were:
1. Give users the tools and ability to manage fleets and make better decisions with data.
2. Provide a platform for metrics and success, increasing efficiency and scale.
3. Open communications and actionable items to and from different users
4. Foster growth for innovation and problem-solving.
Methods & Techniques
Onsite interviews. A team was sent out to our Aptiv Las Vegas Tech center to investigate the problem. We conducted user interviews and fieldwork to understand the current process, everyday work, and tools that help achieve the goals of telemetry technicians, who were our main users. The telemetry team will be ultimately responsible for managing autonomous fleets.
Asking good research questions. One of the things I learned that human-to-human communication is still imperative, especially between Operators (personnel sitting in the front seat of vehicles) and the Telemetry Technicians. One of their main tasks was to give drivers assistance should there be any vehicle problems. Here are some of the questions I asked:
What are the most common vehicle problems?
How do they utilize Slack, do they just chat from their phone?
What does this look like?
Does the driver pick a place to stop and messages from their phone?
What do these conversations between the dispatchers and drivers look like?
How long is the wait time communication between the dispatcher and driver?
What is the protocol for the driver communicating issues to the customers?
Which protocols are most used? Which are misused?
Do the drivers let the customers know they're texting dispatchers about issues? What does this look like?
How will this task differ when the vehicle is fully autonomous (meaning no need for Operators)?
Different definitions of success. What was most interesting is how each subset of users had different goals in mind. Some were focused on vehicle health. Others on fleet utilization. While there were some needs that overlapped, such as the safety of the driver, passengers, and outside elements (pedestrians, traffic laws, other vehicles, etc), it was clear that the solution had to have flexibility.
Mental and physical demands. This can be anything from company vision, mission, strategic intent to current information such as product launches. A congregation of the company's social media accounts and press releases are some examples of this informational feed.
This is especially complex due to the multi-dimensional of the environments from the tech center, roads, regulations, pedestrians, and the vehicle computer systems.
This led us to the biggest challenge our users experienced yet: users were having difficulty finding harmony among the many apps they use to help them accomplish their definitions of success.
In-house, subject matter expertise. There is value in talking to my coworkers who are targeted users for the application. Taking the data produced from vehicles for analysis to drive decision making and value proposition with our clients, we needed to make sure that the app extended to these needs. They were gracious in taking the time to explain how the company's values intertwined with the rest of our users and that we should provide support by way of the app.
Growing industry, growing needs. It was clear from the users we've spoken to about this newer domain, that we paid attention to how they felt about managing autonomous vehicles. Whether it was the telemetry technicians, their managers, riders, mechanics, engineers, data analysts, and stakeholders; some needs are difficult to attribute in a tangible way.
What we could qualify was the strong desire for safety and reduce feelings of uneasiness, across everyone. We kept this in mind throughout the design.