This project required us to envision a future where vehicles can drive by itself in 2025. But what changes will this bring and new problems would arise? We went out and tried to understand more about the trucking industry and truck drivers by talking to 4 truck drivers at a truck stop near Indy and a business in Bloomington, Indiana.
The trucking industry is over a $700 billion dollar industry in America. 90% of truck drivers are owner-operators. A autonomous semi-truck would surpass anything on the market because it allows drivers to rest and not worry about the driving hours limit of 11 hours. There is a significant shortage of drivers in the industry as well.
We sketched out ideas which would be technologically feasible in 2025 and would alert the driver when he is needed. We assumed that the interior of a semi-truck would look the image below and would have a bed on which the driver can take a nap while the semi-truck drives itself.
We explored diffrent avenues of alerting mechanisms like tactile feedback, audio, lighting, temperature, wearables. We also discussed about how the driver gets the right message from the alert.
This was the first time we were usability testing an experience. We tested our prototype with 5 participants. We simulated a semi-truck cabin by using a large screen as the windshield, a frisbee as the wheel and a two chairs representing the drinving and resting area. We tested out male and female voices in varying intensities and pitches and observed the reactions of the participants.
We sketched out the story on paper and made sure that all of us were on the same page about the idea. Three critical components of the alerting system are described below.
Below is a video illustrating two scenarios when the alerting system is required. We use our primary persona, Frank to tell the story about the alerting system and how it works.
The video above was compiled by Hayden and Nicole's voice was used for the audio component.
This project was the fourth project of our Interaction Design Practice course. Compared to the projects we had done earlier, this project challenged us tremendously. With such an open-ended prompt and infinite possibilities, decisiveness was key in this project. We made mistakes, but were quick to learn from them and course corrected ourselves. We did an excellent job of not trying to boil the ocean. We went out of our comfort zones by selecting semi-trucks as our focus. The best moment for me in this project was being scared of talking to truck-drivers about autonomous trucks and then being able to confront that. It helped me understand so much about what a truck-driver does and goes through.
Hope you enjoyed reading this. Please check out these projects as well