Spectrum of Shared Spaces

Final Masters Project at the Royal College of Art Intelligent Mobility MA

 

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Autonomous shared carpooling system

Somewhere between privately-owned and public transport exists a vehicle that understands the varying social expectations of carpool users…

Project Question

As services like Uberpools and Blablacars become more commonly used,

Why are we awkwardly forcing strangers to enter a small vehicle meant for private usage?

Through interviewing Uberpool users and drivers, I found that the whole service of carpooling, which is a necessity for the future, is getting a negative review due to the fault that the ride in a small vehicle so close to a stranger is “awkward” and “uncomfortable.” While some passengers were open to meeting strangers and having small talk, some preferred to be absolutely disconnected to the other passenger and driver. Some users did not understand the concept of carpooling because, they didn’t receive full information about how their Uber trip will be shared with another trip.

The future Artificial Intelligence will self-drive vehicles.

What if AI can also manage the different social expectations of all the carpool passengers and provide an Optimal Shared Experience?


Research Phase 1. Observation at Public Space/ Benches (Piazza Gae Aulenti)

So how to people usually obtain their preferred level of social/private?

Naturally, people have a sense of own comfort level and they distance themselves from strangers accordingly. “Self-segregating,” in public spaces, even if exposed to strangers and other stimuli, anyone is able to create their comfort zone.

Naturally, people have a sense of own comfort level and they distance themselves from strangers accordingly. “Self-segregating,” in public spaces, even if exposed to strangers and other stimuli, anyone is able to create their comfort zone.

You’d choose your distance from others when you first look for your spot. When another person decides to sit, they could also assume a further distance or come closer to you than you’d want. We all have different levels of comfortable distance and the difference may or may not disturb each other.

You’d choose your distance from others when you first look for your spot. When another person decides to sit, they could also assume a further distance or come closer to you than you’d want. We all have different levels of comfortable distance and the difference may or may not disturb each other.

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Corners are an exception.

Physically close but, and having their backs to each other, and out of each other’s field of vision, they find a higher level of comfort compared to the physical vicinity.

Research Phase 2. Conducted Observation with Corner Benches (Hyde Park)

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Corner bench experiment in Hyde Park

I set up a corner bench and observed how people took advantage of the fact they could be sitting in varying directions, increasing the sense of separation without the physical distancing. And in case of a family, they rearranged the bench for more connection

Research Phase 3. Prototyping in carpool scenario (190 x 350 enclosure)

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Vehicle space with angling benches

I mocked up a closed space like a vehicle interior and placed two sets of benches with adjustable angles…


Design needs:

Subtle Angling, Dual Direction Sitting, Range of Adjustment rather than options of set positions.

FLEXIBLE SEATING TO SUPPORT A SPECTRUM OF PRIVATE TO SOCIAL NEEDS.

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90° Flip Seat

For Dual directionality

Click Images to Enlarge ↓

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Water ripple interface

I took graphic inspiration from ocean water ripples. Water patterns and light reflections make unique visuals known to both calm the mind with less stimuli compared to digital screens and intrigue concentration with ever so slightly changes rhythms. I wanted usage of carpool vehicle to be a break from the urban life whether the user seeks private or a social moment.


FINAL PRODUCT VIDEO:

Video Making by Motion Mill

Initial Storyboard:


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Exhibited at the Royal College of Art IM graduate Show

18/02- 24/02 2019