Tesla Vision
Dec 2020
The Future of Automobility
Leveraging autonomous driving technology to disrupt an industry that has largely remained the same for more than a century.
Problem & OpportunitySolutionMedia PresenceApple GlassesrealityOSProcessStrategyDesignReflection
For more than a century, driving has largely remained unchanged. However, people are tired of wasting their time stalled in traffic focusing on the road instead of going about more meaningful activities. In the current state, cars no longer meet the demands of transportation. With the advent of fully self-driving technology, there exists the opportunity to fundamentally disrupt the auto mobility industry through Tesla Vision M, a highly versatile modular vehicle. For more entertainment focused consumers, there is Tesla Vision S, a fully self-driving sports car.
Intent:
Independent Study
Duration:
8 weeks
Role:
UI/UX
Strategy
Industrial Design
Tech:
Figma
Adobe cc
Autodesk Maya
Jump to execution
The Problem
Cars in their current state are not versatile enough to meet the changing demands of transportation in the future.
In 112 years, driving has remained largely unchanged. You sit in your car, you hit a gas pedal, you steer using a steering wheel. None of those things have changed in over a century. For the most part, we consider driving an activity itself rather than something that seamlessly integrates in our day-to-day routines. And we spend most of the time going about this activity sitting behind a steering wheel focussing on the road instead of doing more meaningful activities. However, one company, Tesla, is at the forefront of a driving revolution.
In just 10 years, Tesla had an incredible impact on the automobility industry, from producing its first electric car to building almost fully self driving cars that surpassed 1,000,000 sold units. Tesla was founded only 17 years ago in 2003 but many of us haven’t heard of the company around that time. Things got interesting when Musk became CEO and Tesla produced its first electric car that arguably met consumer needs, Tesla Roadster. The first model could travel almost 250 miles on a single battery, with acceleration and top speed compared to many consumer-level sports cars but it was also very pricy at $100k. 2014 was when Tesla first introduced autonomous driving technology called autopilot, which is classified as lvl. 2 autonomous driving because it is limited to highways and does not function inside of cities. Just a couple weeks ago in 2020, Tesla released a beta version of what it calls full self-driving technology. This can be classified as lvl. 3 to 4 autonomous driving which means it already helps to reduce the cognitive load of driving but you may still have to intervene in certain circumstances. At level 5, we would be at a state where no attention is needed on the driving and every edge case is accommodated for any environmental condition and at every location. This is inevitably going to happen in the next 10 and years and sets the base for this problem. How might Tesla transform the automcobility industry with the advent of lvl. 5 autonomous driving technology?
Opportunity 1
People are tired of wasting their time commuting.
People are tired of wasting their time commuting by car, most of which is their valuable free time spent behind the steering wheel in rush hour traffic. Findings from an April 23-29 Gallup poll that explored Americans' driving habits and their attitudes toward cars showed that 66% of Americans do not enjoy driving for functional purposes "a great deal". In another report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, researchers determined the average American commuter wastes 54 extra hours a year in traffic delays whereas in Los Angeles, the most congested metro area, stalled traffic robbed commuters of an average of 119 hours in 2017. By "extra hours" they mean the extra time spent traveling at congested speeds rather than free-flow speeds. Lastly, time is money, and a report shows Americans are wasting $87 billion, or $1,348 per driver, in lost productivity due to traffic delays according to data analyzed by research firm INRIX in 2018.
Opportunity 2
The entertainment car sector is rapidly growing.
Another opportunity is that the entertainment car sector is rapidly growing. The entertainment car sector refers to cars that consumers make use of solely or mostly for the experience of driving rather than getting from point A to point B (functional purposes). This includes but is not limited to luxury cars, exotic cars, etc. The entertainment car industry garnered $495.7 billion in 2018, and is expected to generate $733.2 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2% from 2019 to 2026 while this segment is expected to register the highest CAGR of 5.9% from 2019 to 2026.
introducing Tesla Vision M
The first modular fully self-driving car from Tesla.
Tesla Vision M is the first modular fully self-driving car from Tesla pioneering a new category of cars made possible through groundbreaking lvl. 5 autonomous driving technology. It features a beautiful design and has transparent OLED screens all around to communicate with the outside world. Every element of Tesla Vision M has been custom created, from the break pads to the 360 panoramic smart window, etc. The modularity of the base of Vision M which houses the autonomous driving technology, software, engine, wheels and a large battery allow for sheer unlimited customization options transforming the way Tesla moves people, businesses, and things.
Tesla Vision M
The First Modular Fully Self-Driving Car From Tesla
Tesla Vision M is a car unlike any other, pioneering a previously unknown category of vehicles.
Modular design
A Modular Base for Unlimited Customization Options
The modular base houses all the technology and software needed for fully automnomous driving including a long-range battery.
Visual Appearance
Bi-Directional Design
A symmetric or bi-directional design allows for easy turns and maximum versatility.
Interior
A Seamless Integration Into Your Daily Lives
Imagine your commute feels like going from one room of your apartment to the next, except you have traveled 20 mi.
Tesla Vision M
A Beautiful Look Inside and Out
Besides a beautiful interior, Tesla Vision M features a beautiful minimalistic design only possible for electric vehicles.
Smart windows
Privacy At The Heart
Layers of nickel oxide, lithium ions and electrolyte gel coating create a smart window that turns opaque on demand, via app or voice.
Business Use Cases
Transforming the Way Businesses Operate
Tesla Vision M enables unprecedented business opportunities, e.g. more efficient and scalable delivery with Amazon Prime.
Business use cases
Seamlessly Merge Workout And Commute
What if you could workout on your way to work instead of getting up early to fit it in your schedule?
With its modular design, Tesla Vision M has the potential to transform the way businesses operate. Delivery services such as Amazon Prime and gyms such as Gold's Gym are simply two examples of sheer endless business opportunities. Below are more brands that can leverage the power of self-driving modular vehicles to boost their business and enter new markets, e.g. (hotel) rooms on wheels through Airbnb or Hilton, flight lounges, ride sharing services, restaurants, and many more.
For sports car fans and consumers focused on the entertainment of driving, there is the opportunity to introduce another type of vehicle, Tesla Vision S.
Tesla Vision S
The First Fully Self-Driving Sports Car
A compact fully self-driving sports car that gives you the entertainment of being in control over immense horse power yourself or to simply lean back and relax.
For sports car fans and consumers focused on the entertainment of driving, there is the opportunity to introduce another type of vehicle, Tesla Vision S.
Business Use Cases
Merge With Your Environment
Tesla Vision S features the same panoramic smart window as Vision M that can darken on demand.
In-car experience
An Interior Designed For Communication
Whenever you don’t feel like driving you can rotate your seats to engage in productivity or relaxation. Big screens and a smart table help you make the most out of your time.
The Process
In the following, I will thoroughly explain the main aspects of the process of arriving at the final solution. Alongside, I will give explanations about my decision-making for several critical design decisions. While the process is explained chronologically, some of the components including but not limited to designing have been carried out iteratively.
Research & Strategy
Understanding and Discovery
To holistically understand the problem and consumer demand/unmet needs, I conducted primary and secondary research, and held focus groups where we examined current market trends, consumer value drivers, competitive threats.
Secondary Research
As part of the secondary research, I asked myself several critical questions, which are discussed in the following.
Is there evidence for a consumer demand/unmet need?
Unlike for projects that solve traditional business problems, this question is not as straightforward to answer in the realm of a disruptive innovation-focused space. Though there are some consumer-evident minor problems with cars, in their current state, they largely work the way they should. However, to fundamentally disrupt the auto mobility industry, my main focus is on things consumers don't know they don't know. Hence, while there is an opportunity to validate innovative ideas with consumers later in the process, there is minor evidence for an unmet need, some of which is listed below.
To research this problem space, I divided between driving for functional purposes (getting from point A to point B, commuting, etc.) and driving for entertainment purposes (joy of driving, driving as a hobby, sports/exotic cars) as these represent distinct consumer types of vehicle manufacturers.
Driving For Functional Purposes
A significant percentage of people perceive driving commutes, which are often spent in rush hour traffic, as a chore.
  1. Findings from an April 23-29 Gallup poll that explored Americans' driving habits and their attitudes toward cars showed that 66% of Americans do not enjoy driving for functional purposes "a great deal". (Source)
  2. A report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, researchers determined the average American commuter wastes 54 extra hours a year in traffic delays whereas in Los Angeles, the most congested metro area, stalled traffic robbed commuters of an average of 119 hours in 2017. By "extra hours" they mean the extra time spent traveling at congested speeds rather than free-flow speeds. (Source)
  3. A report shows Americans are wasting $87 billion, or $1,348 per driver, in lost productivity due to traffic delays according to data analyzed by research firm INRIX in 2018. Each year, INRIX issues a Global Traffic Scorecard based on millions of pieces of data from connected vehicles, departments of transportation, cellular positioning reports and a number of other sources. (Source)
Driving for Entertainment Purposes
The market size for consumer types driving luxury, sports, or exotic cars is consistently growing.
  1. The entertainment car industry garnered $495.7 billion in 2018, and is expected to generate $733.2 billion by 2026. (Source)
  2. The entertainment car industry is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2% from 2019 to 2026 while this segment is expected to register the highest CAGR of 5.9% from 2019 to 2026. (Source)
Why is Tesla specifically well-positioned to redefine the auto mobility industry through innovative approaches?
  1. In just 10 years, Tesla had an incredible impact on the auto mobility industry, from producing its first electric car to building almost fully self driving cars that surpassed 1,000,000 sold units.
  2. In 2020, Tesla increased its stock price more than fivefold. While the mark is largely symbolic, it underscores CEO Elon Musk’s push for growth. Tesla became the first $100 billion publicly listed U.S. carmaker in January. (Source)
  3. Tesla is leading the self-driving car industry for privately-owned consumer vehicles.
Do competitor carmakers work on disruptive auto mobility concepts? What do/don’t they do well? What has contributed/limited their success?
  1. Mercedes Benz consistently releases concept car prototypes from which production cars derive. However, none of Mercedes' concept cars feature truly autonomous cars. While the carmaker is working on that technology, it is not famous for it. (Source)
  2. Israeli startup REE is the first carmaker who unveiled highly customizable self-driving vehicles. (Source)
Primary Research
To further understand the core problem space and find out more about potential opportunities for innovation, I rented a Tesla myself to understand the car experience and self-driving technology. I also conducted primary research in the form of a survey and focus groups.
Hands-On Tesla Experience
During my time in Seattle, I rented a 2018 Tesla Model 3 (long range) to fully understand the user experience of driving a partially autonomous vehicle.
I was overall impressed by the Tesla experience, especially in comparison to other traditional car manufacturers. I also found that autopilot worked very well and it helped to significantly reduce the cognitive load when driving. However, I often chose to drive myself since it is a very fun car to drive, e.g. it accelerates from 0 to 60mph in just over 3 seconds, an acceleration that can compete with many sports and exotic cars thanks to the phenomenal torque of the electric engine.
Another reason why I chose to drive myself a lot was because I rented this car primarily for entertainment purposes (the joy of driving a Tesla) and as a secondary reason for functional purposes (exploring Seattle). If I owned the car I would frequently rely on autopilot when driving for functional purposes, e.g. when being stuck in rush hour traffic during commutes.
Core Behaviors to Understand
  1. How frequently do people use their car?
  2. How do people generally go about using their car? What is the process?
  3. What are the important factors that people seek out when they are identifying cars they like?
  4. What is the percentage of people who use ride share services instead of driving themselves?
  5. What are aspects why people do or don't like the act of driving?
  6. In an ideal scenario without any limits, what are some activities people would pursue if they did not have to drive themselves?
  7. How does vehicle ownership change with the presence of increasingly fully self-driving cars?
Focus Groups
I held 3 focus groups comprised of the following demographics (n = number of participants, approx. equal number of male and female participants):
  1. Group 1 (n=9): CL
    Mid 20s
  2. Group 2 (n=4): COM
    Mid-Late 30s
  3. Group 3 (n=6): ENTH
    Mid-Late 30s
Focus Groups Consolidated Insights
  1. People mostly see driving as an activity itself and it blocks them from going about more meaningful activities.
  2. If people would no longer have to drive, they would use their time depending on the time and day. In the morning, it may be used for more relaxation before work or work preparation / meetings, etc. while other times it may be used for other activities such as sports, etc.
  3. Some participants were afraid fully self-driving cars may destroy the joy of driving.
Survey Consolidated Insights
Below, consolidated insights of the survey I conducted are shown. The survey received 112 responses from people aged 22 to 48.
  1. More than 83% of respondents use their car at least once per day.
  2. For about 80% - 90% of the day, the car remains unused.
  3. 75% of respondents would still prefer to own a vehicle if there is a network of fully self driving vehicles.
Affinity Mapping
I used affinity mapping to organize all research findings and determine areas of opportunity. Below you can see the consolidated affinity map in a digital format.
Opportunity
After organizing the research, I determined the following areas of opportunity:
  1. People are tired of wasting their time commuting.
  2. The entertainment car sector is rapidly growing.
Defining the Strategy
After determining areas of opportunity and after conducting all secondary and primary research, I finalized the business strategy.
  1. Transform vehicles into a more meaningful seamless experience in people's daily lives.
    Tesla should leverage its full self-driving technology to fundamentally disrupt the concept of cars and transform the driving experience in a way where there is barely a difference between activities people go about when not driving and driving, i.e. those activities merge seamlessly.
  2. Further establish the entertainment car business by retaining or redefining the joy of driving.
    Tesla must ensure that ensure that the joy of being in control over a vehicle is retained by introducing a product for consumer types who are more driving-entertainment focused.
Persona
To better understand the users we design for, I created a personas for two specific consumer types. Olivia can be considered the primary consumer while Mike is the secondary consumer.
Ideation
Concepting the Experience
Based on my research, I started concepting the car design and experience through a competitive analysis, brainstorming sessions, and prioritization matrices.
Competitive Analysis – Innovative Car Concepts
I analyzed existing car concepts of fully self-driving vehicles from major car manufacturers. Below are two examples.
Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR
  1. Innovative wheels which allow driving sideways
  2. Driving joystick instead of steering wheel
  3. Window doors
Mercedes-Benz F015
  1. Privacy windows
  2. Seats inside can be rotated
  3. Backside of the doors feature screens
Determining Core Features
Each vehicle model has a slightly different focus area to address different kinds of consumers.
Design
Designing the Tesla Vision Series
Based on my concept, I started designing the Tesla Vision vehicles on paper and in 3D.
Modeling Tesla Vision M in Autodesk Maya and Autodesk Fusion 360
Below you can see some screenshots of the vehicle design for Tesla Vision M which has been entirely custom built from scratch using Autodesk Maya and Autodesk Fusion 360.
Modeling Tesla Vision S in Autodesk Maya and Autodesk Fusion 360
Below you can see some screenshots of the vehicle design for Tesla Vision S which has been entirely custom built from scratch using Autodesk Maya and Autodesk Fusion 360.
Reflection
For me, truly innovative and disruptive projects are the most fun to tackle. As an experience designer and creative, I love to force myself to think in unconventional ways about topics that are not usually part of my daily diet of product design or new media. After all, we are designers and my interest for great experiences and aesthetic goes way beyond my specialization. Having never designed a car from scratch, I was eager to move in uncharted territory to learn and grow from new experiences in order to redefine the basic concept of what cars really stand for and what autonomous driving technology enables them to be capable of. As a car enthusiast and Tesla fan myself, this was truly a passion project that helped me think in new ways, develop new skills, and refine existing ones.
Team
Dominik Hofacker
Experience Designer