How might advanced automation and visualisation shape a future truck driving environment?

Final Concept

Griffin is a projection of future highly automated truck interface focused on up and downhill driving situations. It is comprised of an advanced vehicle automation system and multi modal driver interface. The advanced automation system is able to provide highly customised levels of driver support by analysing driver behaviour in real time and collecting this information in the cloud.

By crowdsourcing driver information the system can provide highly specific support when drivers are seen to be operating in an inefficient or unsafe manner. This encourages drivers to maintain a level of control and skill development, while still providing safe and efficient driving.

The driver interface can provide an augmented reality display in situations when drivers may have difficulty making decisions. The system can display unseen road geometry in real time onto the windscreen, allowing drivers to extend their decision making space. It can also display dynamically changing information about the lane position of the driver in precarious driving situations.

Project Information

Location: Umea Institute of Design, 2013
Client: Scania Trucks
Project Time: 6 Weeks
Team Members: James McIntyre, Jenni Toriseva, Idil Tunga, Qian Yedan
Personal Contribution: Research, Ideation, Concept Development, UI Animation, Physical Prototyping, Video Production, After Effects


The choice of Driver situations between Uphill / Downhill driving and Slippery roads were assigned to our group. We did quick brainstorming and realised that both problem areas relate to vehicle control and information display.  


We identified that the use cases in uphill and downhill driving are more likely to present a larger range of possibilities for varied design interventions. It was due to this that we decided to focus on up and downhill driving situations for the project.


We engaged in primary research into drivers work life experience by conducting interviews in a driving situation with two drivers. The situational experience and the insights the drivers provided in these interviews presented a number of different areas that were used through later stages of development.

Primarily we identified the varied nature of the drivers role, their jobs often vary from day to day and they take pride in their abilities to handle the equipment and maintain an efficient work practice.


Task analysis

Following this we conducted Hierarchical task analysis on the overall truck driving experience, from the beginning of a driving shift until the end this gave a sense of the problem areas and areas that may benefit from automation. This process involved breaking down the tasks that the driver needs to engage in on a daily basis. By breaking down this experience into smaller pieces and finding commonalities.

At this stage of the process our thinking was very much about making the driving experience as easy as possible, and as such we were identifying areas that drivers might find particularly difficult or that might reduce the overall quality of the drivers working environment.


Problem Space

From this we were able to define the areas that we felt were an issue for driving up and downhill. We identified these areas as;

  • The spatial relationship between slow moving trucks and faster moving cars on uphill roads,
  • Poor visibility in curvy up and downhill driving situations,
  • Speed management on downhill roads.


We brainstormed in a variety of different areas at different levels of detail to ensure that we approach the problem space holistically. This stage included the development of a persona based on our and other groups initial interviews that would serve to highlight values and qualities that were important to a design phase. This was quite difficult as the drivers all presented different challenges and specific requirements in daily activities.

We assessed the qualities of different modalities in relation to our situation in order to develop a sense of understanding of their effectiveness / priority in a future truck environment. This involved conceptualising situations where specific methods of providing information were better than others. This was beneficial as it served to highlight some issues related to our general concept ideas a this stage and also about what we thought the problem space was.


Concept Development

We identified the different points of the scenario visually by finding images that presented the problems we had been considering at this stage. This was valuable as it allowed us to consolidate our problem spaces and allow us to being thinking visually about the problem.

The role of automation was considered in relation to both the level of control the driver might have in the future and also in terms of how this relationship might need to switch in various situations. This highlighted the different nature that this switch might need to occur in certain situations and also the importance of driver understanding as to what is being controlled at what time.

At this point we began more formal phases of defining our concept. We used elements of our initial brainstorming sessions as a jumping off point for this phase, using the areas of our scenario as starting points for problem solving. This process involved a lot of shared sketches and encouraging ideas to form from other ideas.

This proved very fruitful and shaped our concept into a more cohesive solution.
We arrived at the idea of allowing the driver to largely maintain their current role within the driving situation as this is an area where automation is presented with a much greater number of variables to control. Our hypothesis based on our discussions and interviews with drivers was that drivers would like to maintain control of much of the driving based tasks while This would mean that automation would be present as a way to fill in the gaps in a drivers behaviour to ensure safe operation.