Research project makes HMI development data interchangeable

August 21, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Today, more than 80% of all innovations in automotive technology is based on electronics and software. This holds true in particular for the comfort and infotainment domain as well as for so-called hidden technologies such as engine management and ESP. Every new function however makes the system more complex. The acceptance of these systems greatly depends on how easily they interact with their users - and the users depend on the quality of this user interface. In the research project automotive HMI, a number of automotive players including Audi, Porsche Engineering and Daimler as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (IESE), collaborate in developing and optimizing HMI development processes.

In order to implement these goals, the main challenge is the development of a domain-specific, model-based exchange format which allows to create a unified formal specification for process-spanning HMI development data. This data format is intended to function as a machine-readable data interface between process participants and thus to close the "digital gap" caused by paper-based data exchange between stakeholders in the HMI design value chain. The deployment of a model-based exchange format for HMI system specifications will for the first time enable data and development artifacts across the value chain across organization boundaries. In addition, the development and deployment of a unified data exchange format will lay the foundations of a consistent usage of development tools along this value chain.

In the first phase of the project, a questionnaire was compiled that helped to gain an overview of processes, roles, tools and interfaces used at the partners involved in the project. This phase greatly improved the process transparency among the stakeholders and enabled the researchers to define an abstract HMI reference design process which reflects the needs of OEMs, tool providers and tier ones. This reference process will be the basis for all further project phases, Fraunhofer IESE said.

Principal goals for the second phase of the project are defining and developing a comprehensive data model, reducing the complexity of HMI design processes and defining the elements to be developed through the modeling language. Fraunhofer IESE will also make sure that innovative multimedia and multimodal forms of interaction with novel HMI can be taken into account. This second phase currently is under way. At the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September, the project partner will show the state of the research in their booth B07 in hall 4.1.

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