Designers are working hard to optimise user experience (UX) in connected vehicles and technology is advancing rapidly. The big question now is whether to design for the here and now or for the future of autonomy.\r\n\r\nSpeaking at Connected Car Detroit 2018, Zelijko Medenica described what he considers to be the two most important factors for UX: discoverability - how well the user can figure out what kind of features are available - and understanding what the system is meant for and what the controls do. An optimal connected feature should have a self-explanatory design that is easy to use, so a human-centred approach to UX design is pivotal to its success.\r\n\r\nMedenica voiced concerns over speech recognition software if it fails to filter out background noise or understand a user\u2019s demands. However, Carie Cunningham, User Experience Researched for Nuance, explained how Nuance is working to alleviate these problems through a \u2018natural\u2019 sounding AI called Just Talk. Just Talk factors in natural human conversation when responding to a user; instead of requiring a wake-up word, Just Talk listens and responds when it realises it is being addressed through a natural pause in speech and the directness of a request.\r\n\r\nOptimising the senses\r\n\r\nMedenica, Cunningham and Jonathon Baugh, Experience Architect for Pillar Technology, all emphasised the importance of the human senses when designing connected features, particularly automated driving assistance systems (ADAS.) These features are designed to alert the drivers of potential hazards without causing a lapse in attention. \u201cDriving is a predominantly visual task,\u201d Medenica said, so designers must avoid overloading visual senses. The aim is to prevent \u201cmulti-sensory suppression, which can negatively reflect on the perception of warnings.\u201d Medenica warned that a disconnect between the user and ADAS technology, and a general failure of users to understand how the technology performs, could jeopardise the safety of these systems.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAs Cunningham pointed out, \u201cAttention is a limited resource.\u201d With that in mind it must be focussed almost entirely on the most important aspect - today that is driving the car. All infotainment is considered an afterthought, or a distraction. However, this is expected to change in the wake of developments in autonomy. For Level 5 fleets, there will be no need for a driver and thus vehicle users\u2019 attention will be more focussed on connected features, currently designed as an afterthought.\r\n\r\nTesting in the real world\r\n\r\nBaugh advised designers to \u201cchange their approach to design an experience across a whole ecosystem.\u201d Designers should learn from users and take a build-as-you-go approach, looking beyond the cabin itself and develop UX based on the variants in mobility at present. He feels that the most effective testing for UX is done in the \u2018real world\u2019 as opposed to a controlled environment like lab testing. Practically, Baugh encourages designers to \u201cget out there and experience people in their natural environment\u201d and praises ride-along tests as a means of learning from drivers to broaden the scope of the research. Ensuring and monitoring consumer understanding now could be the answer designers are looking for to move forward and develop technology with a longer relevance.\r\n\r\nFully autonomous vehicle (AV) technology is a long way off yet. Car connectivity takes longer to develop and update \u00a0than cellular connectivity for example, so UX designers have to think ahead to avoid creating technology that is immediately outdated. There is already concern that vehicle owners don\u2019t currently understand or realise the extent of the connectivity on offer, but this is expected to shift as autonomy develops and leaves room for a more connected user experience.