A recent user experience evaluation from the In-vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics has assessed Mercedes-Benz’s Semi-Autonomous Driving Assistant in a 2018 S-Class Sedan. On completion, Strategy Analytics found that this iteration shows improvements in control location, but repeats issues with small visual icons and a lack of audible or tactile feedback, leading to moderate IVX scores for usability. System-initiated emergency stops during escalated takeover warnings also have troubling safety implications.
- In a notable positive design change, primary ACC controls are now located on the steering wheel rather than buried on a stalk control.
- Visual assets are entirely co-located at the bottom of the instrument cluster, and one notable icon is slightly larger.
- However, several critical human factors issues remain:
- Proper function requires that steering assist and lane-keeping modes remain active. Hiding these controls on a console behind the steering wheel is not conducive to discovery or usability of either.
- No audible or tactile feedback is provided when an operator hands off to the vehicle, or during initial takeover warnings.
“Because a lack of consumer trust is one of the biggest roadblocks to a fully autonomous ecosystem, automakers such as Daimler have an enviable position. Semi-autonomous features such as Mercedes Benz’s advanced driving assistants could serve as a ‘gateway’ to showcase Daimler’s ability to create safe and enjoyable assisted-driving (or non-driving) experiences. However, it is currently a wasted opportunity due to a poor holistic understanding of the semi-autonomous use case, particularly with respect to human-machine interface (HMI) design,” commented Derek Viita, report author and Senior Analyst.
As interest in autonomous driving features has returned to an upward trend, the next few model years and semi-autonomous iterations will be critical in determining whether automakers are truly gaining consumer trust,” added Chris Schreiner, Director, Syndicated Research UXIP.