Dashboard with bird
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Vehicle HMI Design Concepting

Storytelling in a virtual 3D space

At Foundry, we love experimenting and solving new design problems. When Epic Games announced they were sponsoring a challenge to design a car dashboard interface using their Unreal Engine software… well, it sounded too cool to pass up. We were excited to explore the opportunities of prototyping and product storytelling in a virtual 3D space, and couldn’t wait to create an exceptional interactive experience for drivers.

PROBLEM

The challenge constraints were fairly open. “Showcase a new Vehicle HMI Experience in Unreal Engine that exemplifies either adventure, luxury, or sport that is one minute in length”.

SOLUTION

We determined that using the theme of adventure, imagining extraordinary experiences, and giving new context to the world around the driver would be the most innovative way to approach this opportunity.

RESULT

When faced with the very ordinary task of recharging your vehicle to continue a road trip adventure, our vision of the near future includes a smart assistant experience that finds the best possible location for you to fulfill that task, along with suggested experiences upon arrival.

Judged by an expert panel, including leading HMI experts from the likes of BMW, Rivian and Toyota Connected. Our submission was among over 200 registrants across 30 countries and earned us a position as one of the 6 finalists in the competition.

Judged by an expert panel, including leading HMI experts from the likes of BMW, Rivian, and Toyota Connected. Our submission was among over 200 registrants across 30 countries and earned us a position as one of the 6 finalists in the competition.

The Experience

We made some early decisions to keep our design grounded: Work within the constraints of the near future, with no imaginary tech. Where possible, utilize the 3D assets and blueprint scripts provided with the Unreal Engine Challenge. This allowed us to focus the majority of effort on the HMI experience itself rather than starting from zero on all elements. We also wanted to keep the driving experience as clean and uncluttered as possible, displaying only the required information.

Car dashboard screenCar dashboard with mountain views

2D Sketching & Design

These early sketches show how we were experimenting with a unified experience between the 3 screens we selected. We ended up having several different “modes” to the HMI, each based on the scene and what were trying to communicate:

-Driving to a destination with directions

-Notification of a potential detour or scenic charging location

-Destination changed, en route to new destination

-At destination charging, and browsing local content

-Display and interacting with content

Realtime Implementation

Our design and overall narrative required design elements to be in sync across 3 different displays. The driver dash, console, and windshield. To construct the specific content for each of the screens, we created 3 unique scene areas in Unreal Engine:

-One representing the vehicle interior from the occupants perspective

-The second representing the mini vehicle driving along the road

-The third was the top down view of the vehicle on the map following the path to their destination

Car dashboard with mountain view
Steering wheel diagrams
Steering wheel and mountain drawings
Steering wheel dashboard
Car dashboard with road and directions
Car drawing and directions
Car drawing and directions
Map view with car and directions
Map view with side bar directions
Map view with side bar and bottom destination cards
Map view with side bar destination overview
Dashboard view with bird image and bird description

Images highlighting the process from beginning to end.

Images highlighting the process of the HMI project for the Epic Games competition using Real Engine Software.

Car dashboard with mountain view
Steering wheel diagrams
Steering wheel and mountain drawings
Steering wheel dashboard
Car dashboard with road and directions
Car drawing and directions
Dashboard and mountain view
Map view with car and directions
Map view with side bar directions
Map view with side bar and bottom destination cards
Map view with side bar destination overview
Dashboard view with bird image and bird description

Services Recap

Strategy

Innovation Workshops/ Sprints
Narrative Blocking & Storytelling

Design

2D Concept Design
UX Design
Visual Design
2D Animation / Motion Graphics

Development

3D Modeling / Texturing / Material Design
Unreal Engine Scenario Design & Development 
Unreal Engine Blueprint Scripting
Unreal Engine Sequencer Video Capture 
Video Timing /Editing