Designing the automotive revolution with Gianluca Brugnoli
Our digital world is entering the car more and more. For Gianluca Brugnoli, VP of Design at TomTom, that creates both a huge opportunity and challenge. How do you design a complex digital interface that’s not just streamlined and elegant, but also helps people around the world easily adapt to changing technologies?
Our phone, our devices and our cars are becoming increasingly connected. As Gianluca says, modern cockpits are “more similar to the smartphone you have in your pocket.” We’re at a point where software is taking over the driving experience. This is the current automotive revolution, as mechanical dials are replaced with digital screens and advanced safety features start reacting to dangers before the driver even sees them.
But change doesn’t come easy. People need to learn how to use and feel comfortable with all this new technology, so it can have a positive impact on their lives. That’s where design comes in, and what excites Gianluca most – designing for people.
It’s all about the experience
Gianluca has been a digital designer since he started building his first Netscape Navigator website with Notepad in the ‘90s. With extensive design experience at Frog Design, McKinsey and Huawei, he has witnessed the evolution of new technologies, features, devices and channels over the years, and is an expert in designing experiences that help people use and interact with new technologies.
As the VP of Design at TomTom, he continues to do what he does best. Gianluca and his team “are working on improving the user experience,” he tells me. That entails “many projects and activities, supporting most of our products. “My contribution,” he continues, “is also to better understand people’s issues, expectations and behavior while they're driving their car, across multiple driving scenarios and contexts of use.” This is becoming increasingly important as the driving experience continues to evolve with new technologies and features.
Designing the automotive revolution
“One reason I’m here is because the automotive sector is going through a revolution,” Gianluca says. AI plays a big role. “Everyone has a car, and with electric vehicles and software everything is changing. Internal combustion engine drivers will have to become electric car drivers, and this change must be perceived as an upgrade to a new, more enjoyable and better driving experience. That's the biggest challenge for us, and it's a very interesting challenge because it’s about bringing these new experiences to almost everybody,” he adds.
Take electric vehicles (EVs), for example. “The idea that you have to plug in and understand how to manage the charging experience is not as a simple as it should be,” Gianluca says.
“So far, many EVs are designed for about 20% of consumers – the early adopters, who are already familiar with technology, are enthusiasts and like to test new products,” he says. Now we are working to “help the automotive industry deliver better digital experiences that are designed for a mass consumer market.”
Billions of people are using cars every day. Thanks to Gianluca and his team, more and more people will start using vehicles that combine the latest in technology and design to be safer, greener and more comfortable.
Gianluca BrugnoliVP of Design, TomTom
The future is generative
Things are only going to get more interesting for Gianluca and his team. “The design industry is changing continuously” he says, and “generative AI is going to change the way we design and interact with technology. It’s going to be everywhere and we’re going to see many deep transformations in many industries and experiences.”
TomTom is engineering the first real-time map, which will be a part of this transformation and an exciting opportunity for designers at the company to make their mark in a changing world.
Gianluca says, “if you want to grow and achieve great results, you need to work in the right team with the right people, and at TomTom we have a great team made up of very great people.”
Do you want to design the future with Gianluca and his team?
Explore open roles at TomTom
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