Google Assistant in Auto

A smarter journey, powered by voice.

Drivers today expect more from their cars. From the best in music and entertainment to keeping up with busy schedules and communications, vehicle owners increasingly rely on their cars to deliver enjoyable and productive rides. As part of the Assistant design team, I worked with Volvo to design and prototype a voice-forward smart vehicle, extending the Google Assistant into the future of Volvo's award winning Sensus infotainment system. Moving beyond connecting your phone to your car's speakers, the next generation system delivers a seamless, intelligent experience that is deeply tied to all vehicle controls. The in-vehicle Google Assistant allows drivers to do everything from open the sunroof to check traffic with just their voice, and enriches on-screen infotainment apps with smart contextual suggestions.

Hitting the road in late 2020 with the Volvo XC40 (model year 2021). Some elements showcased here are future looking.

Your thoughtful assistant, from the start of your journey

From the moment the driver turns on their vehicle, smart suggestions orchestrated by the Assistant provide users with one touch actions based on the current context. On the way to a meeting? Share your ETA with the organizer in one tap. When it's time to fill up or do maintenance, taking care of your vehicle is a breeze with the help of the Assistant.

Starting Point:
The Basics

The first stage of the project was to get the basic assistant up and running in the Volvo Android Auto environment. Partnering with engineering, we quickly designed and built a functional prototype with the voiceplate element, which indicates the Assistant's listening state. We later expanded the voiceplate real estate to include additional features, like contextual suggestions.

Prototype (Vanilla Android Auto): voice only Assistant w/ voiceplate

Prototype (Volvo environment)

Deep contextual suggestions

Beyond assisting drivers via voice, the Assistant will show app- and context-based suggestions on screen throughout the infotainment system. The content drivers need is just one tap away. I iterated on the contextual suggestion concepts in various apps to reach a final UI with Volvo.

Immersive conversations

The Immersive Conversation framework provides more contextual information and controls relevant to a user's intent during a conversation with the Assistant. With this enhancement, drivers can complete any flow via voice or simplified on-screen controls. Enlarged on screen options and reduced text density help limit eye time off the road.

Check out the prototypes used in UX research at the right.

Prototyping & testing

We tested functional prototypes at the Google automotive research lab to gather feedback, refine, and ensure compliance with driver distraction/safety guidelines.

Hitting the road in 2020 on the Volvo XC40 Recharge

Coming soon to more models from Volvo, GM, Nissan and others.

For a full walkthrough of this project, please contact me.

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