Tesla Autopilot Compelling for First-Time Users

Technology Behind Tesla’s Autopilot Impressive But User Experience Lacks Key Best Practices

Boston, MA – December 15, 2015 – A recent user evaluation from the In-Vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics (www.strategyanalytics.com) assessing the Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system in the Tesla Model S has found that overall, first-time users found Autopilot impressive despite several usability bugs. Users praised the responsive speed adjustments and lane centering, but felt that staying perfectly centered within a lane was not always desirable. Controls for initiating and adjusting Autopilot were somewhat easy to master with training, but the audible tones and the icons on the instrument cluster were far too subtle to be effective.

Strategy Analytics tested Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving system with first-time users. While the results of this study found the technology behind the Autopilot system in this car to be impressive and possibly even best in class, its user experience neglected a few key best practices. Participants considered the indicators on the cluster display for current Autopilot status to be elegant and visually appealing but too small or thin to be noticed in a first-use case; audible tones indicating the activation and deactivation of Autopilot were too subtle and rarely noticed by first-time users; and, while the automated lane change was easy to learn and delightful for first-time users, the display and indicators to notify for adjacent vehicles were rarely noticed.

Click here for report: http://bit.ly/1TCYhdS

Derek Viita Senior Analyst and report author commented, “Most participants felt that Autopilot was easy and safe to use, but fewer felt that Autopilot kept them appropriately informed of the driving situation - which an improved UI could address. Participants’ comfort levels with Autopilot increased as they felt the car maneuver to keep them on the road and safe, but interestingly, no participants cited the HMI as a reason for feeling safer.”

Chris Schreiner , Director IVX, added, “After testing, the vast majority of participants had interest in potentially including a semi-autonomous driving assistant like Autopilot in their next vehicle; a few even indicated that it might directly factor into their purchase decision. However, other than for long drives, users openly questioned when they would actually use the feature. This suggests that while consumers are showing increased interest and appetite for these systems, for most they simply “tick a box” ensuring that their vehicle has all the latest and greatest features.”

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