BACK TO All Work


Part of
Reset Spaces

Onboarding service that catalyzes an inclusive self-driving masse implementation experience

MA 2022
Autonomous Driving, Service, Automotive, Onboarding, Experience, AI

There are currently thousands of autonomous users which are either unable to understand the intentions or the features of their systems because they were never properly trained on how to operate them. This is bound to only get worse with the highly inclusive mass implementation of more advanced technology and features, as both new and veteran users will not know what to expect.

Thus, we chose to focus on how might we catalyze the future self-driving onboarding experience by bridging the reliability and communication gap between the systems and their users, easing the adoption journey?

Through our partnership with the European NIO car manufacturing branch, we were able to develop a service that could overcome these shortcomings, and allow for smoother integration of their products: NIO-MISM

NIO-MISM is an onboarding service that catalyzes the efficiency of the Self-Driving (SD) adoption journey and its experience for Hands-off (Level-3) autonomous users.


Even though the field of autonomous driving is currently being pursued by the entire car manufacturing sector, we decided to pursue the development of this service alongside the NIO car manufacturing company, because they are considered pioneers in user experience and product reliability when it comes to autonomous vehicles. They have a strong foundation for their products, due to their ecosystem and community-based brand strategy, which fit our goal, as we aimed to develop an outcome around a more transparent strategy rather than the manipulative approaches often taken by NIO’s competitors. Also, we collaborated with IMDC RCA and The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, along with other researchers, and experts from the industry to bring inclusivity from a humanitarian and scientific approach to self-driving service.



The purpose of this service is to focus on the onboarding journey for a much wider user base than before, which current vehicles fail to highlight. Through the system, we aim to give users a chance to try out the system for some time, after receiving an introduction and mandatory tutorial around its capabilities, its limitations, how to properly understand its intentions through custom-designed sounds, and the proper course of action for these specific situations. This is done to help users who find it hard to stay updated with the latest technologies.

The service itself is composed of two parts -

Part 1: NIO onboarding,

A well-designed beginner journey in-car to help the user fully adopt the 30-day beginner journey, which is enhanced with a report function in the current NIO APP after each self-driving ride to help users trace logs of the systems in case of doubts or confusion during the trips.

Part 2: NIO APP community,

Utilizing NIO’s current app as a base, the community function allows users to share their concerns and experiences for a better, safer self-driving adoption journey, as well as build up good feedback dynamic for the autonomous service.

However, this is more of a secondary improvement, as the community function already exists, and our primary focus is around the NIO onboarding experience.


To be sure that the service was as effective as possible, we designed it to take place during the four main steps of a user’s autonomous onboarding experience, from its first introduction to the more advanced uses further along with the driver’s experience. These four steps are Arrival, Training, Early Experience, and Integration/Formation. This brief user journey is meant to give an idea of how users will interact with these various steps, and how this will affect their experience.



At the start of the journey, the user has just purchased their new NIO car and downloaded the smart APP to preview all system necessities of their car before it is delivered, also allowing the future driver to activate their NIO ID and give the car a unique name. On the delivery day, the user receives a message which informs them that their car is at the door. The user receives the vehicle and boards the car for the first time and starts the engine.  After being activated, the car speaks to the user via the central screen and the small robot NOMI. They take an extremely informal tone and give choices to the user, such as: do you want to know me? Its wants to introduce you to all its capabilities and basic handlings. The user is thus presented with the possibility and is introduced to these new functions.



After the vehicle's arrival, the user will have gotten used to the vehicle handling, and they will have gotten to know the basics. After this, the car system will notify the driver, suggesting that it is time to try the self-driving function and features.  While the user has still not bought the self-driving system, they have a 30-day free trial to test it out. Once installed, the screen will load the mandatory session, and through various video simulations, the system will present how the vehicle will act in specific road contexts, what sound and visual cues it will use to communicate to the user, and the correct course of action and how to properly respond to these situations. These tutorials will be split into two parts, the mandatory one covering the priority features, to properly operate the system, with the final 3 available to be learned in the user’s own time. The mandatory session in total lasts less than 5 minutes. (All session settings, sound, and visual contents are strictly based on current latest scientific research and industry papers. All sessions are tested under scientific principles.) After this, if the driver passes, they will be able to start their early autonomous experience on the road.



After a brief period, and after the user has finished the second section of the tutorial, they are now fully equipped with the knowledge to handle self-driving. Now, to properly get to know the system well, the user needs time to build familiarity with it.

The system on the other hand already has the user covered. After each SD system sound or notification, there is a human voice explanation to reassure you what the system is trying to tell you. Apart from that, during these 30 days, the user can use their phone, and through the official NIO app, they can check the system’s performance through the journeys, and how it was making decisions in certain confusing or difficult moments. This makes the autonomous system appear more like a partner in the eyes of the driver, rather than a simple tool. Additionally, the user can connect with the app to the larger NIO community to ask any questions regarding how others have been experiencing their adoption journeys, as well as give and receive tips and feedback from the community.



Finally, at the end of the 30-day trial, the new user mode will be officially over, as the user will have gained more than enough experience to operate all the autonomous features.

The system robot NOMI informs them that they can access the advanced settings, such as turning off the human voice reminder after each system notification sound. The user thinks about the pros and cons over the past 30 days - how the autonomous driving helped them during traffic and the more tedious parts of the journey, and also about enjoying the connection to the wider community, with other members confirming and supporting, and the NIO design team fixing bugs and pain points within days. With such a transparent and good service iteration dynamic, the user is convinced and decides to subscribe to the autonomous features for a couple of months, and they will be prepared to take full advantage of this new technology. Furthermore, even if the user does not subscribe at the end of the trial, they will still be equipped with autonomous driving safety knowledge, have the experience to decide on when to get the system later on with no consequences, and will still have access to the community side of the service and connect to the wider community.


A special thanks to NDC for contributing the research and industrial advice vital for the successful outcome of the service.

Also a special thanks to the Helen Hamlyn design center for allowing us to test the efficiency of our research direction.

No items found.