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Concept, motion, UX design


Jason Zhang, Jesse Gao, Zeya Chen



2021 Spring

A conceptual interaction design for on - campus autonomous shuttle 

of Illinois Institute of Technology

On-Campus Autonomous


Project Background

Robotics lab at Illinois Institute of Technology has conducted in-depth tests and research on the navigation functions of autonomous vehicles. The research project uses radar sensing technology to scan the surrounding environment in order to generate maps. This emerging technology provides the self-driving car industry with road testing on the main campus of IIT.  Since the laboratory obtain the valuable research data of the campus. We decided to design a self-driving school shuttle for the IIT campus, and create an unique experience concept.

Challenge & Outcome

How to design the functions of an autonomous shuttle in a specific campus setting? Especially when the average on-road time is less than 5 minutes, what are the real needs of users? What features can improve user experience? Through the process of user research, ideation, definition and visualization, we proposed a interaction system suitable for autonomous school shuttle on campus.

Part 01 / 3


  • Importing class schedules and add personal routines makes daily commute easily.

  • Anytime to modify upcoming trips to provide conviencience. 

  • Noitification in many ways to make passengers clear. 

  • Options for personalizing in-car environment let the whole trip chill.


Different from normal trip booking APP, we provide routine commute options based on students’ class schdules.

Design Process

Given the test results and data colected from IIT Robotics Lab, we need to find out the way of how to make those data meaningful and apply them into daily life. So we started from designing the school AV specifically for IIT, because of the existing factors in Chicago -- the high crimal rate around our campus. 

1. Research  

We did secondary research and user interviews not only to understand what can AV bring to us, but also to find out the real needs/desires from IIT people.

2. Ideation

Combining current market trends with our local user insights, we explored how to build TRUST from outside screen to inside screen interaction between passenger and car, car and car, car and pedestrian. Finally focus on the user journey, experience of taking a AV shuttle on campus.   

3. Definition & Visualization

In the final stage, we introduced the mobile application, outside shuttle information panel and inside controller pad, then visualized how user could interact with those screens.


Finding the pre-set commutes in the clear layout of daily schedule makes the fixed shuttle bus more flexible.


Dynamic information displayed in Apple Widgets and pop-up notification of informing the trip in advance give passengers a shortcut to understand what’s going on right now.


Not only can select prefered seats before getting in, but also be able to adjust temperature and set favourite playlists.

Part 02 / 3


Shuttle can only recognize you when you verify your identity by tapping your ID card; however, you can easily understand which one is yours and get started quickly.

The outside screen will display evey information you need to take off. 

Part 03 / 3


Combining the shuttle with IIT campus website + Chicago crime data + IIT alert to provide safe and joyful in-car experience for students.

A journey while in SHUTTLE

1. Research

Robotic Lab conducted road tests on the main campus, and provided the visualized data showing the capacity of AV camera. We understood that shuttle could perceive information of buildings, vehicles in the surrounding environment.

Besides the ability of avoiding collision on road, what else can designers deal with the building, road information? We then conducted user interview mainly discussed IIT students', faculty's desire of on-campus shuttle and their experience of current day-to-day on-campus routine, finding four main opportunities.

2. Ideation

In order to satisify these 4 needs, we first explored the basic experience model, listing out the key interaction points happened when user who wished to go from Point A to Point B. then use storyboard to show the proposed scenario.

3. Visualization

After we got a clear mind of what we are going to design, we divided into two teams for different tasks -- screen, modeling and animation. Mine was mainly focusing on screen UI and UX. Eventually got a reasonable process by doing 3 rounds of wireframe prototype.

  1. What information should be existing on Mobile APP which can be differentiate from UBER, aiming for serving IIT people?

  2. What process should we go through when we check in the trip?

  3. How to interact with inside screen and how the overlay information layout be above the map system?

Let information live inside the buildings 

Due to the high crime rate in southern Chicago, IIT and the University of Chicago have an alarm system. When a dangerous event occurs in/around the campus, the system will notify students via text messages, phone calls, and emails. We interconnect the alarm system with the map, providing a new safe route for them when something bad happened.

Next Step

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