Unreal engine 4 in Cars

BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN CONCEPTS AND IMPLEMENTATION FOR AUTOMOTIVE HMIS

Project Type

In-vehicle Infotainment
Micro-interactions
3D User Interface
Expressive Animations

Project scope

Infotainment system
Microinteractions
3D Rich content
Expressive Animations

Services

User Experience Design
Visual Design
Prototyping
Unreal Engine Development
HMI Development

At Siili Auto we frequently test the HMI technology to discover its strong points and find ways to address our customers’ biggest challenges. As the technology progresses every year, the need for richer designs and the drive to improve the process of bringing those designs to life became the number one concern of many OEMs and TIER-1s. The challenge is: can the designers and developers work closer when building user interfaces for the cars?

For many years Unreal Engine 4 has been used to create wonderful visualizations, advertisements and demos in the car space. Now it enters the in-car HMIs as Epic Games has announced support for the automotive hardware and car specific modules. Along that, it brings one of its great features - “blueprints” - that enable designers to preview their creations immediately in the target.

We have created a proof of concept of an In-vehicle Infotainment in UE4 to test the promise of the improved design-to-development workflow.

While building it, we set ourselves 3 goals:

  • follow “zero code” approach,
  • run the infotainment on an automotive hardware,
  • use micro-interactions in the UI.

UI & UX DESIGN

Before we talk about deployment and tech details we’d like to walk you through our creative process of UI conceptualisation and design and show you the content of the app.

Visual Design - high level concept

The infotainment prototype is built around 5 screens: Today, Music, Movies, Audio and Battery Settings. The interface is mainly flat 2D with a high degree of responsiveness. This provides a clean look and at the same time feels alive and focused on the things that matter. We also wanted to use UE4’s great 3D capabilities in a way that enhances the user experience and goes beyond just nice aesthetics. We’ve decided to use 3D cube animations to add a feeling of freedom and open space while navigating the infotainment.

"Today" screen

The “Today” screen displays information that we think the user will find useful daily. It is here where you can check the current weather, calendar, reminders, and missed calls. All these widgets are interactive and will expand on-click to reveal more details.

“Music” screen

A media player rich with micro-interactions.

“Movies” screen

Being a modern HMI system - our IVI is aimed at cars with some degree of autonomy. Therefore the driver and passengers can enjoy their favourite streaming services right at the dashboard.

“Car settings” screen

Audio and battery screens show how easy it is to build fluid animations and touch interaction.

Having settled on the design we fired up the Unreal editor and started crafting the application.

Unreal Engine allows for unbelievable intertwining of programmers’ and artists’ work. By using visual scripting capabilities of Blueprints artists can bring their designs to life without knowing how to write a single line of code . The possibilities with Blueprints are literally endless. Adding some C++ specialists to your team you can develop your own Blueprint nodes that will process data, communicate with external services, implement your business logic, and do basically anything you need in your application. Considering our project assumptions - no code written - and will to show the design-to-development speed we opted to use only built-in nodes, but we are looking forward to next steps that will allow us to explore the Blueprint development side of the engine.

Future steps with Unreal Engine and Siili Auto

Have we piqued your interest? That's great, because there's more to come from our R&D and other projects using Unreal Engine. We'd like to invite you to join our "Unreal in Automotive" webinars where our engineers and designers will show you how to achieve great results with tools shipped with the engine. Signing up to the workshops will start soon, and the concrete dates will be announced along with it.

The project described above has many more features in the backlog and we're planning to show its evolution by the end of the year. Besides that we also see growing interest in production ready software development, so we look forward to starting a number of commercial HMI projects based on Unreal Engine.

We also encourage you to share with us your take on the topic on our social media. Maybe you have questions, doubts, opinions or you'd like to work with us on an Unreal based solution tailored for you? We're more than happy to help.

Press releases & media

Enhancing the driving experience through the seamless use of the connected car services

At Siili_Auto we have developed a demo for our customer Preh Car Connect for the 2019 Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai. The goal was to showcase how the driving experience and safety can be enhanced by seamless use of the upcoming services available in connected cars.

The Origo Steering Wheel

The Origo Steering Wheel concept has received recognition from the German Design Awards council for outstanding design quality. The project was chosen as a Winner in the category of Excellent Product Design – Human-Machine Interface.