Johannes Heichel, Manager of Product Planning, Hyundai European R&D Centre, was speaking at the Connected In-Vehicle Infotainment conference in London

Johannes Heichel, Manager of Product Planning, Hyundai European R&D Centre, was speaking at the Connected In-Vehicle Infotainment conference in London

Car manufacturers need to design cars that allow a new generation of 'digital natives' to continue their digital lifestyles while driving, according to a senior Hyundai manager addressing a Vehicle Connectivity conference in London.

Johannes Heichel, Manager of Product Planning, Hyundai European R&D Centre, said that a new generation of 'digital natives' wants to be always connected with friends and relatives and that includes while they are driving a car.

He defined 'digital natives' as those typically born after 1980, aware of the digital world and how to use it, using computers and mobile tools as the main form of communicating and also increasingly using social media as their main platform for communication.

He also said that these buyers currently reject cars for three main reasons:

  • no connectivity
  • no modern Human Machine Interface (HMI)
  • no emotional appeal

Heichel emphasised the role of mobile devices and the need for a seamless connectivity when moving into a car.

"The expectation is that we have to allow the digital lifestyle while driving," he said. "Connectivity is very important and we must also offer a very good and up-to-date HMI experience. Emotional design is also critical for digital natives – they do not buy ugly cars – and they want good design, 'digital aesthetics'."

He also said that digital natives seek a a high level of individualisation so that they can have the driving experience or journey customised to their tastes – music, connectivity, driving position, air-con. "They really like an app-based interface," Heichel maintained.

"We have to work on meeting these changing needs and also ensure that the design of our vehicles meet all the requirements for safe operation," he added. "Car manufacturers and legal authorities have the responsibility to avoid massive driver disturbance. We have to find clever solutions and good design for the integration of connectivity into in-car systems so that we can offer added value to the customer."