Self-driving bus service models and passengers User Experience

In the last months automotive world is talking a lot about autonomous and self-driving vehicles both for private and public transportation. During my day researches one day I found the exciting call for collaboration for Olli, the self-driving vehicle produced by Local Motors.

Designing the autonomous bus user experience is a complex task: for first because self-driving buses will serve the traditional public transportation diversified and multi-age target; second because without the driver and, in some cases, without a fixed route, passengers will have some new functional and informational needs.

The first part of my project started with a Service Design session focused on what kind of transportation services a self-driving bus can serve.

Personal on-demand shuttle

It’s like a Taxi/Uber, but less exclusive and more spacious. It brings one or more people from A to B. It can be reserved days in advance and can make various stops during a single dedicated service. The served area is restricted.

Shared on-demand shuttle

It’s like public transport service except for the fact that passengers can add a personalized stop to the route within the bus pertaining area. The route is dynamically optimized depending on users destinations and pick-up calls. The high level of complexity makes this service ideal for closed areas like small districts, big companies, entertainment parks etc.

Public Transport

It’s exactly the same public transport service as we know it.

Delivery service 

It’s like sending objects using a shipping company, but instead of giving the package to a human, users will schedule the shipment using an app or a dedicated device in the bus, and then they store the package in a secured housing inside the vehicle. The recipient will track the shipment in real-time and will be alerted when the bus is at the delivery point (or in front of his door). This service can be added to the “Shared on-demand shuttle” one, or it can be configured as an automated delivery service with customized buses and dedicated physical hubs.
This delivery service model is useful for companies that need to transport small parts within a relatively big space, or in modern cities creating a sort of fully automated shipping/delivery hubs for connecting wholesale shops and retails stores.

After this first Service Design session, I started a User Centered Analysis focused on the self-driving bus passengers needs. For designing a real accessible service, I defined only “analogue” needs excluding all the information/functions that a smartphone app could have. What you read is what my grandmother or a manager with a dead smartphone could need for using an autonomous bus.

What self-driving bus passengers need outside the bus

– Passengers need a purchase and reservation system that should be both digital (app), physical (street’s stops signs) and gestural (raising the hand for asking to catch the bus).
Here some examples of a simple bus stop sing with a call button (left) and an advanced stop sign with an integrated ticket machine and a digital screen (right).

SelfDriving_Bus_Stops_TicketsMachines_AntonioPatti

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Why Mobility Technologies

I love cars and motorcycle since when I was a teen. I remember my mother’s Fiat 500, my father’s Alfa 33, my neighbour Citroen 2cv and the Motobekane Moby parked in my box for years. I’m Antonio Patti, I’m employed at the transport company of Milan and I created “Mobility Technologies” because I want to put together my passion for automotive and my work experience in public transportation.

I love all the transport and mobility products like cars, motorcycle, industrial vehicles, buses, boats, airplanes etc. I’m interested in the mobility industry specially from the point of view of UX (user experience) and product design. So ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), digital infotainment systems, interior and exterior designs are my great passion and the main topic of “Mobility Technologies”.

For the launch of the site I decided to organize the contents in four main sections:

  • Vehicles Design, where I post all kind of vehicles interesting design.
  • Personal Mobility, where I post about vehicles and technologies regarding consumers and industrial mobility.
  • Shared Mobility, where I post about public transport, smart cities and shared mobility.
  • MT Studies where I share my drafts, my concepts and my projects.
  • News Selection where I automatically post all the interesting news that I read.

If you enjoy feel free to comment, share and get in touch.

Drivin’ – Car Pooling and Neighbourhood social platform

Drivin‘ is a Car Pooling and Neighbourhood social platform that I designed almost three years ago for sharing car’s rides with people that have similar transportation needs, and for creating a trusted network for empowering the local sharing economy.

I presented the project many times to many developers and Startup events but as usual, being just an idea, nobody cared about it. Actually I abandoned the desire of developing the service because the concept was realized by many many other startups, plus some big companies like Lyft with its Lift Lyne. I sincerely don’t know if these apps are having the success that a service like this should merit. The Instant Car Pooling (or ride sharing) is the real alternative to the private car and to the public transportation but the security issues, the business model and the critical mass needed for creating a real instant service are really big challenges.

By the way, I’m proud that a 3 years old project is still actual and has a lot of potential. All the world’s Transportation Authorities together with the car manufacturer (and Google and Apple) are looking forward for creating the mobility pattern of the future. Not only because of the pollution or the metropolitan congestion, but because cities and citizens have changed their concept of mobility. Because thank to the social networks we have lost anonymity and we trust more one to each other (we know that we are monitored). Because we don’t like to lose time and money for daily commutes. Because we trust that technology could do things that we don’t like to do.

Following the slides of the Drivin’ project that I posted on Slideshare. On YouTube the pitch that I did on May 2013.

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How important is the Radio in your car? Radioplayer and BBC research

The recent research “Great cars need great Radios” conducted in UK, Germany and France by Radioplayer and BBC reports that:

  1. Essential: 82% of drivers would not consider buying a car without a radio
  2. Dominant: 75% of all in-car listening is to the radio, even in modern cars
  3. Frequent: 84% always or mostly listen to the radio on every journey
  4. Free:  90% believe radio should always be free and easy to listen to

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