Audi is not simply working on future mobility, but also on optimising the time we spend inside the vehicles. These are two topics which come together in the concept of The 25th Hour, presented at last year’s Audi Summit in Barcelona.
For the Brand, The 25th Hour is a vision of autonomous driving and future mobility. It means giving drivers back the time they spend in traffic. In the future, when cars no longer have pedals and a steering wheel, it will be possible to redefine mobility, and the passengers – including the (current) driver – will be able to relax while their car takes them from one place to another.
How did The 25th Hour vision come about?
The goal is to understand how, in the near future, we will be able to spend our time when travelling in an autonomous vehicle. The project is based on the idea of a new human-machine interface (as it will no longer simply be a car) which is able to learn the habits of its owners and adapt with resulting flexibility, allowing customers to regain full control of their time.
In the initial phase of the project, Audi concentrated on two key aspects: how infotainment is used today, and how people are likely to spend their time on board the cars of the future. The team then defined three time modes to be experienced in a self-driving vehicle: quality time, with passengers playing with their children or phoning friends and family; productive time, when they work or participate in videoconferences; and finally, relaxation time, used for reading, watching films or browsing the Internet.
The Brand gave a demonstration of this vision during the Audi Summit, an important event held in Barcelona, Spain, in July 2017. Audi used the occasion to present its solutions for tomorrow’s urban mobility. Two thousand guests from around the world enjoyed a preview of the new A8, the first vehicle in the world to offer level-3 autonomous driving, and were able to try out a highly advanced simulator first hand.
In Barcelona, Audi indeed installed a simulator specifically designed to provide an immersive autonomous driving experience, allowing users to discover not only how they can spend their time on board a vehicle which does not need to be driven, but also all the different kinds of content which can be shown on the display of a fully digital cockpit.
This was a reduced-scale version of the one used for “The 25th Hour” project created in partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering in Stuttgart. The interior was designed to generate variable noise and lighting conditions, but also to show all kinds of information on the display.
Participants in the experiment later underwent a small memory test, which demonstrated the importance of the right quality and quantity of information supplied. Another reaction common to all participants was relaxation, with a reduction in tension as time passed. This is an absolutely normal behaviour, with the passenger initially finding themselves in a completely new and unusual situation, but then quickly getting used to the new context, relaxing and enjoying the journey. Passenger stress levels were measured using small electrical diode sensors, which measure the galvanic response of the skin (and therefore the associated stress level) on the index and ring fingers of those entering the simulator for a virtual journey.
Source: AUDI AG