Conjure is a digital innovation and interface agency specialising in imagining and creating tomorrow's digital products and services for businesses today. Aura brings to bear our extensive knowledge in designing and building advanced HMIs resulting in a meaningful connection between the driver and the driving experience.
As a digital innovation agency, we specialise in creating the interfaces of the future. These interfaces can be found on physical and digital products, from web and mobile apps to vehicle interiors and large scale equipment.
Our work spans a multitude of different interface types from visual and touch based, or gesture or audio based - and sometimes with no perceived interface at all. Our cross-disciplinary teams encourage experience and visual designers to work alongside technologists and developers - delivering innovative UX and technical solutions across various industries.
When it comes to Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI), Conjure has worked on more Automotive programmes than any other design agency in the UK. During the last decade our team has worked on vehicle OEMs globally including Ford, Triumph, McLaren, Mitsubishi, Jaguar Land Rover, Royal Enfield, Volta Trucks and Gordon Murray Automotive.
We couldn’t have been more excited to join the Aura consortium of British partners in bringing the vision of an innovative vehicle to reality. The Aura project has offered Conjure the ability to demonstrate our capabilities across the full gamut of HMI related services.
Creating the first European vehicle running Android Automotive OS
Developing an innovative vehicle demanded an innovative Operating System (OS) at its core. Android Automotive OS (AAOS) is a flavour of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) specifically developed for the Automotive market. With a mobile development team that has been developing native Android-based applications for over 10 years, the choice for us to use this new platform was simple.
Coupled with our clients desire to explore AAOS HMI components, we jumped at the opportunity to develop our capabilities in this platform and to also push the boundaries of our typical competencies and delve into the world of automotive grade processors and hardware.
Choosing to work with the iMX8 range of processors from NXP, we opted for iMX8 QuadMax Multi-sensory Enabled Kit (MEK) with BaseBoard as our core system. This provided us with a real-time M4 processor to interface and communicate with the vehicle systems over CAN as well as a dual-core applications (A72) processor with a AAOS/AOSP-ready build prepared by NXP.
Addressing the HMI User Experience (UX) like any other Conjure project, our discovery and design phases started with understanding the needs of the driver in harmony with the vision of the vehicle. With the rest of the car designed to connect the driver into a visceral driving experience, we wanted the HMI to enhance this whilst also not stealing our driver's attention and just blending into the background.
We were also keen to flex the 3D capabilities of our system as well as the effectiveness of different 3D pipelines on HMI development. This culminated in our unique aerodynamic visualisation feature allowing the driver to visualise the aerodynamic efficiency of Aura by using an array of highly sensitive pressure sensors installed in the skin of the vehicle.
Our aim to show that EV adoption is more accessible than users think led us through a constant cycle of review and refinement from within the project team.
Our approach to cutting-edge HMI not only aims to reduce driver distraction through its driver infotainment (which includes a self-levelling driver display in the centre of the steering wheel) but also by reducing range anxiety through real-world map and charging availability.
We took a very focussed approach to evaluating design affordance to display key information to the motorist to bring about harmony between driver and vehicle to aid response and decision making.
Driver-centered design of the HMI whilst simultaneously considering hardware and software capabilities and constraints allowed us to develop novel aspects of the vehicle HMI – unseen on any other vehicle. By considering the UI design and technology in unison, we were able to create a seamless connection between the driver and the vehicle, including our unique self-levelling circular wheel-mounted driver display (WMD).
Further deepening the driver’s connection to the vehicle and performance, another first for Aura is its ability to provide a real-time indication of the aerodynamic performance of the vehicle. This allows the driver to make conscious decisions about the operation of the vehicle to maximum range or enjoyment - depending on the driver's preference at that time. As well as displaying a combined score for vehicle performance, UI nudges on the WMD help the driver to understand the impact of their driving as a product of the vehicle and their surrounding environment.
We knew from the beginning of the project that we wanted a fully, real-time connected vehicle. Having seen many other connected services with significant delays in getting data from the vehicle to user led us to consider if there was a better way.
Our solution utilises various components within the Google Cloud Platform, ultimately delivering a real-time connection between the vehicle and various connected applications.
Useful as an engineering and debug tool as well as a technology demonstrator, our HMI digital twin displays a fully synchronised version of the centre console and driver display on an independent off-board Android tablet application. This application shares around 95% of the same codebase as Aura's vehicle HMI applications, allowing us to develop widgets for the vehicle HMI, test rig applications and off-board applications simultaneously. By packaging this codebase for different target platforms by just simply changing the data source, we significantly reduced our development time and complexity whilst improving our ability to test individual UI widgets.
A second off-board application natively developed for iOS also demonstrates our multi-platform development capabilities. The Aura iOS app is designed to replay and analyse individual trips as well as demonstrate how the raw vehicle data can be filtered, processed and visualised.
An advanced and open HMI system for any manufacturer relies on integrations with multiple third party providers and AURA is no exception. With AI-powered battery and range prediction from Spark EV as well as advanced EV sensitive routing from Charge Trip - the range, mapping and route planning abilities of the Aura vehicle are pretty special.
Our innovative digital product development strategy and ideation, extensive experience with Automotive HMI and skilled full-stack development capabilities has led to a fully road-ready vehicle jam packed with unique and novel examples of the art-of-the-possible when it comes to a holistic approach to HMI development.
The Aura HMI also serves as a reference system for Conjure to integrate and demonstrate other Automotive HMI services and solutions in real and simulated environments within the AAOS/AOSP platform.
We would love to hear from any other Tier 1 hardware or software providers who are looking to better understand AAOS, or to get a real-world use-case integrated with a vehicle.
Spark develops and supplies personalised range prediction software for EV’s of all sizes. Working with global OEM, Tier 1 and mobility providers, Spark gives drivers the trust and confidence to use their EV to its full potential, alleviate range and charge point anxiety and enhance fleet utilisation. Spark provides the data for the user interface to show the driver either as a range number, journey prediction or as a map overlay which can be deployed as part of the in vehicle information system or as an aftermarket application.
By understanding energy consumption the vehicle can be optimised and the EV user experience significantly improved. Our range prediction software for EV’s of all sizes (from e-bikes to commercial vehicles), leverages our core “Energy AI” model so that the driver will always have confidence in how far they can travel. Working with global OEM, Tier 1 and mobility providers, Spark gives drivers the trust and confidence to use their EV to its full potential, eradicating range and charge point anxiety.
Spark’s machine learning technology takes in to account a number of data sources, on and off the vehicle, which could impact on the vehicle’s range, such as the weather, the route, traffic conditions and even the driver behaviour, to provide the user with near-perfect predictions about the range available Spark EV solutions can be deployed as part of the in-vehicle information system, as complements to fleet planning systems, or as an aftermarket application.
Just some of the companies we work with to pioneer their futures, faster.