The project is focused on reshaping and redesigning the interaction between users and vehicles. The main aim here is to achieve a positive user and customer experience through the development of innovative interior concepts in combination with well-balanced ride characteristics (e.g., lane changing behavior, strength and timing of braking maneuvers, directional stability, acceleration intensity, speed in bends, etc.).


RUMBA_Arbeitspakete im Überblick_v1

With fully automated driving, the driver is increasingly taking on the role of a passenger. This results in changes to user behavior and the requirements in regard to interior design (HMI, controls, seat/sitting position, etc.). An important requirement is the transition from highly automated driving phases to less highly automated ones to manual driving phases, all of which must be safely manageable in a user-friendly way. Only a tight coordination between the interior design (HMI, controls, seat/sitting position) and appropriate ride characteristics leads to a positive user experience and safe take-over transitions for fully automated driving functions.

By taking an interdisciplinary approach across vehicle segments, it is possible to draw up a set of common requirements for the vehicle interior and solution spaces. This kind of level of abstraction ensures design issues can be considered almost in isolation, i.e., independent of the vehicle type, and furthermore allows the concepts to be applied to related design issues/questions.

Project objectives

The RUMBA research project has five primary objectives:

Achieving a positive user and customer experience through the development of innovative interior concepts in combination with well-balanced ride characteristics

Development and evaluation of user condition monitoring for judging the readiness of the user to take over control of the vehicle and for assessing ride comfort and motion sickness

Development of concepts for new vehicle interiors for passenger cars and commercial vehicles

Development of alternative controls for driving the vehicle

Derivation of driving dynamics measures for the purpose of increasing comfort, and use of these measures as a feedback channel for automation

The individual work packages (WPs) being processed in RUMBA are depicted in the diagram below. The requirements analysis (WP1) provides the basis for the other work packages at the beginning of the project. In WP1, the researchers compile and process the available knowledge and carry out trend analyses. They furthermore use empirical studies, interviews, and workshops to gather and collate the various requirements from the perspective of the end users, other customers/stakeholders, and experts. WP2 is all about developing concepts for a new kind of vehicle interior for fully automated vehicles. The main emphasis here is on the positioning of the occupants and the design of a holistic, user-centered display and control concept. In close coordination with WP2, WP3 then deals with the conceptual design of the ride characteristics. The first step here entails an analysis of the influencing factors and interactions between the driving strategy/style and trajectory planning/regulation in terms of users’ sense of safety, comfort, and acceptance. This data will then be used to develop appropriate concepts.

In line with the user-centered development process, the researchers intend to already discuss the early concept versions with users and experts before building labor- and cost-intensive prototypes. In an iterative process in WP4, the researchers will build the various prototypes and demonstrators and make them available for subsequent evaluation in WP5. Depending on the particular aspects being investigated, the researchers will use, for example, paper prototypes, virtual reality (VR), mockups, simulators, and real vehicles to turn the concepts into demonstrators that users can experience. The purpose of the iterations is optimization of the user experience, particularly in terms of ergonomics, sense of space, ambience, ride comfort, occupant comfort, wellbeing, quality of the control take-over experience, efficiency, and users’ confidence in the system.

The user condition monitoring system (WP6) will be developed in parallel with the vehicle interior and ride characteristics. The monitoring system is an important component in enabling vehicle control transitions and provides a measuring method for assessing occupant comfort and the driver’s capacity to take over control of the vehicle.

RUMBA_Arbeitspakete im Überblick_v1

Work package 1

Ascertaining the overall requirements and user requirements

Work package 4

Concept realization and system integration

Work package 2

Development of new vehicle interior concepts

Work package 5

Evaluation of the concepts in terms of driving safety and user experience

Work package 3

Developing concepts for ride characteristics

Work package 6

Development of a user condition monitoring system