Connected Car UX: ReachNow Ignites Thoughts on the Future of Car-sharing

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Seattle’s fastest-growing new meetup, IoT Hub, hosted its fourth event with Steve Banfield, CEO of ReachNow, BMW’s new car-sharing service. ReachNow is headquartered in Seattle and already has hundreds of vehicles deployed around the city.

Prior to ReachNow, Steve led another connected car company, INRIX, into the smart parking market with the acquisition of ParkMe. While there, he also oversaw the launch of on-street parking prediction solutions featuring the BMW i3. Throughout his career, Steve has been able to hone his passion for building teams and products that delight millions at premier technology companies like Sony, Microsoft, Paramount Pictures (Screenlife), Rightside and RealNetworks.

During the event, Steve talked about BMW’s long-term vision for connected car technology and what ReachNow’s roadmap looks like. And the future looks bright! Who knew that Seattle would be BMW’s test bed for piloting autonomous vehicles? That’s right, calling an Uber that picks you up with no driver. Personally, I can’t wait for this!

If we have self-driving cars, that begs the question “what will we do with that that extra time?” Many of us will likely do the same thing we do today, bury ourselves in our iPhones. But what if not needing a driver means we can still sit in the driver’s seat, enjoying the scenery or choosing to take over with the push of a button any time we see fit. These are fascinating experiences to think about.

Going back to the Uber possibilities, let’s say you still decide to sit in the backseat – perhaps a panoply of entertainment options would be made available to you, from movie trailers to the ability to make restaurant reservations. How could companies take advantage of that captive audience’s downtime, especially now that there’s no driver they have to pretend to make conversation with.

What if you could learn more about the events going on around you in real time, offers and coupons being sent to you from nearby restaurants and cafes, or perhaps show riders in other driverless cars that are ready to play against you in your favorite online game (think Words with Friends)?

While these possibilities go beyond what Steve talked about at the event, they’re the kind of experiences that only new technologies like ReachNow can enable. We live in an exciting time and it’s important for us to recognize the way our lives will change with the technology of the future.

Autonomous vehicles present a bold, new challenge for automobile manufacturers, insurance companies, city planners and software companies, too.

At UpTop, we are well-positioned to address the UX design challenges associated with driverless technology – from the technical side to the end-user experience – to help companies bridge the gap between what could be done and what should be done.

IoT Hub is a meetup whose purpose is to bring together the IoT community, people working on smart and connected products (or vehicles). You can sign up for future IoT Hub events on their Meetup page