In 2017 I gained access to a Tesla Model X with advanced Autopilot features. Applying engineering psychology, I assessed the vehicle from a human factors perspective. I utilized a front-end analysis for user-centric design and addressed the displays and the controls for the vehicle.
My analysis addressed the physical design of the vehicle, including the dimensions of mirrors and windows, and the physical controls for the vehicle, such as the steering wheel, autopilot stalk, and brake/go pedals. I used my knowledge of ergonomics to assess and make suggestions for future iterations of the vehicle’s controls. After delving deep into the menus and subsystems that affect the driving experience, I identified potential hazards for drivers originating from those designs, and I proposed solutions to the graphical user interface and alerting systems that would mitigate some of the risks.
Because the Tesla operating system is fluid and can be updated remotely, the original report is outdated, but I have kept it in the portfolio as an example of my work. In particular, the Autopilot has evolved, and I have expanded the report to address some of the new issues, and highlighted the solutions that Tesla implemented that mirrored my initial suggestions from the first report.
I have now been admitted to Tesla’s Early Access Program (EAP), which enables drivers to test to features that are pre-beta and not yet released to the public. I continue to interact extensively with the new technology and capabilities pushed to my vehicle and provide feedback and suggestions to the Tesla software design team. I cannot add these observations, troubleshooting experiences, and suggestions to my portfolio because of a confidentiality agreement with Tesla. I can, however, report that my involvement with the EAP is ongoing, and the experiences I gain corresponding with the designers and programmers is building my experience with user-testing and actionable feedback for designers. As I continue to test the capability of the systems and make suggestions for how Tesla could improve its users’ mental models and therefore safety.