How to Design the Future of Mobility

How to Design the Future of Mobility

Insights from thorough experience in automotive technology.

The ever changing automotive landscape.

The automotive landscape is rapidly evolving, and today's customers demand high-quality, seamless digital experiences. OEMs face significant challenges, from lengthy development cycles to changing platforms and tastes, making innovation particularly complex.

BlackBox's approach combines over a decade of expertise in automotive with lessons from diverse fields like emerging tech R&D, product design, aerospace innovation, and blockbuster filmmaking, ensuring we navigate this ultimate innovation gauntlet successfully.

Key Opportunities

Advanced HMI

Digital displays in vehicle interiors are more than just interfaces; they are integral to the user experience. Designing intuitive and engaging HMIs requires an understanding of user needs and the ability to create visually appealing and functional displays.

Sonic Future + Sensory UX

With the rise of electric vehicles, sound design has taken on new importance. From AVAS regulations, to high-performance engagement, sound is becoming a critical part of a vehicle’s experience, identity, and brand. Our approach is obsessed with the new opportunities sound brings— we know we’ll compose thoughtful, exciting, and compelling sounds. But beyond cool sounds… what if you could hear G-forces, or your torque distribution?

The Holistic SDV

IMAGE: Blackbox infinite, CAR DESIGN: LUKE MACK (Rivian, Audi)

The concept of the software-defined vehicle (SDV) is common way of considering how a suite of digital experiences are going to be making an increasingly profound impact on the driving experience. Digital layers will enhance everything from comfort and connectivity, to performance and safety. While the opportunities are exciting, we’re weary of surface-level novelty and feature-bloat. Often the most compelling experiences require tremendous orchestration to make an impact while remaining nearly invisible.

Autonomous & Beyond

Evolving ADAS (Advanced Driving Assistance Systems), and the future of autonomous driving present a suite of new interaction challenges. From clearly communicating complex features, to mission-critical state changes, ADAS systems need to balance the friction of trusted support and critical driver oversight. The future of autonomy requires a fully fresh perspective on all-new kinds of interaction between human and machine.

Accelerating Disciplines + Emerging Platforms

Creating for an automobile requires a savvy-ness across various domains, development and design processes. For such a specific space, there is a dizzying number of purpose-built platforms, and new entrants into the space making a big impact on things, like Android Automotive and Apple’s newest CarPlay integration.

Realtime 3D: Unreal Engine

An example of the sophisticated fidelity achievable in Unreal Engine

For brand-defining realtime visuals, you’ll want to leverage the hollywood caliber power of high-end realtime 3D like Unreal Engine. BlackBox founder John LePore led the design of the first vehicle HMI built with Unreal.

Creative meets Runtime: Rive

Rive enables a streamlined prototyping process

Rive excels at 2D infographic layouts, fluid animations, and realtime interaction. Built to streamline the development process, Rive's biggest advantage is the ability to blend creative development and iteration into a process where the output isn't static design comps, but interactive executable code.

Pre-visualizing the SDV: Cinematic Prototyping

All of BlackBox’s competencies converge in a process we describe as Cinematic Prototyping. Depicting interactions that go beyond a single touchscreen require a wider context. These prototypes are executed at the perfect fidelity to convey the idea, and require the perfect blend of everything we’ve got: Strategy, ideation, UX, and Design through the lens of storytelling, 3D animation, and prototyping.

The Challenges in Automotive

Automotive OEM’s are some of the most complex organizations in business today. Making an impact in these environments requires thoughtful consideration and navigation of environments based not just in creativity and innovation, but in engineering, automotive heritage, and more.

In traditional automotive environments, design and engineering teams often find themselves at odds. This work can’t be done without bridging that gap, and think it’s best to position ourselves with empathy towards the needs of both engineering and design. We’re obsessed with staying ahead of the constraints— whether regulatory or organizational, cultural or brand-based.

The Pragmatic & The Cinematic

We strike to make strong leaps forward in these complicated spaces. And we achieve this by balancing two strengths: Pragmatic strategies that build trust, and cinematic execution that creates awe. You can’t get innovative ideas off the runway without the support and trust of those with the most pragmatic concerns. And innovative ideas will only fly safely with the protection of leadership who are inspired and passionate about these concepts.

A Future Arriving Fast

It’s an exciting time in the automotive landscape. Recent changes have pushed automakers at large to be more adaptable than ever. Many brands have actively restructured their internal organizations with more emphasis on the digital experience. And while many brands are improving gradually, most of them are more aware than ever of the gap they need to close in order to meet customers expectations. We love these challenges, and are excited to (finally) see other creatives recognizing the opportunities this space contains.


Newsletter: Inside the BlackBox

2024 blackbox infinite
designing positive futures


Newsletter: Inside the BlackBox

2024 blackbox infinite
designing positive futures