Maia x Intel

Autonomous Cars

Intel is one of the major companies racing to join the future of autonomous cars. For our master’s thesis project, my team worked alongside Intel to uncover the role autonomous vehicles may play in people’s lives. In general, our aim was to predict user needs for a future era and design a solution for those needs.

How can autonomous vehicles alert and inform people of changes in their health status?

How can we improve the relationship between vehicles and people’s health in the autonomous vehicle era?

UX Design, Visual Design, UX Research

Understand the value autonomous cars might bring to the consumer, identify ways in which autonomous cars can serve the needs of car passengers and their health. Design a car interface for this.

Organizing potential design solutions

At first, my team and I focused on how autonomous vehicles could detect an abnormal health response in patients with epilepsy and heart attacks. Our initial design question was: How can we design an in-vehicle emergency response solution to help people who need sudden medical attention while in autonomous vehicles?

However, upon research and user testing, we realized that the persona we were most concerned with affects only 1% of the population (which is not big enough for our sponsor user, Intel, to focus on) and the scope involving various systems (emergency response services, hospitals, dispatchers, health insurance companies, car passengers) was too large for us to tackle with a deadline of 10 weeks.

We used our existing user research to support our pivot. We decided to focus on the everyday user of an autonomous car that is concerned with their health status. The autonomous car would be a technology that has a place in one’s health status by being able to sense biometrics and track health stats.

We proposed having an in-vehicle health system that will familiarize itself with the passenger’s health status and habits from a longitudinal observation. Maia, which stands for monitor, alert, inform, advise, is an in-vehicle health monitoring system that over time, will be able to help improve people’s health behaviors by alerting them of positive and negative trends in their health.

Our vision for Maia

I researched the major health stats to monitor and created paper prototypes of what we envisioned. My team conducted guerrilla usability tests inside of a car and I recruited participants on the street inside our car to test the paper prototypes. We engaged in rapid prototyping by quickly iterating on the prototypes after every two participants.

Another group of participants were interviewed on how they prioritize their health concerns and monitor their health status. I led half of these interviews. Based off this round of research, I created a high fidelity interface based off of the paper prototypes, which can be seen in the video below.

Paper prototype of car interface

Testing the interface with a research participant

Rapid paper prototyping 

Initial design for Maia interface