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The era of personalized vehicle experiences is here

Jan 3, 2024

Our recent episode of “Driving Innovation” featured Jimmy Yang, Product Manager at Sonatus, in conversation with our Head of Product Marketing, Sanjay Khatri. Jimmy and I discussed how the Sonatus Vehicle Personalization Solution–a next-generation automation toolkit–empowers drivers to “program their own vehicles” to suit individual needs and personas.

Bring high-end personalization to mass-market vehicles

Jimmy explained that vehicle personalization today is often limited to simple settings like preferred seat position and temperature when the user enters the car. Anything more, if at all available, is limited to premium or luxury models. The Sonatus Vehicle Personalization Solution significantly reduces the cost and complexity of adding adaptive features into vehicles, and enables even entry-level cars to automatically configure a broad range of driving and comfort settings to individual preferences.  

The Personalization Solution is built on our Automator product which lets OEMs create and deploy a variety of codeless automation routines to vehicles. These routines take in multiple in-vehicle and external triggers to execute a wide range of vehicle functions and even interact with external applications and devices.  

The Solution includes an SDK built on top of Automator that makes it easy for OEMs to present the routines as user-configurable templates on apps for smartphones, the web, and in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems. The “if-this-then-that” style templates give users the ability to customize the automation routines, letting drivers tailor their own unique vehicle and driving experiences.

Turn a great idea into a new driver experience, instantly

Jimmy went on to describe a practical example of a user-configurable routine designed for drivers: ‘road trip’ mode, a personalized driving mode that’s dynamically triggered on leisurely road trips without driver intervention.   

This “road trip” mode is automatically activated when adaptive cruise control (ACC) is turned on, reconfiguring the entire vehicle for a more relaxed driving scenario. Based on user preferences, the driver’s seat is realigned for a more comfortable posture, the chassis and powertrain mode is set to “Comfort” for a softer feel, audio settings are adjusted for a smooth jazz playlist, and the ambient lighting dimmed to a calming blue. 

Innovate continuously

There are plenty of trigger conditions to consider, such as time of day, entering a geofence, weather conditions, and terrain. This approach allows a vehicle to seamlessly switch to new drive modes, activated by the aforementioned triggers and more. And these modes can be tailored to each driver’s preferences, offering a level of customization far beyond existing settings. For example a “teen driver” mode could set speed limits, hours of use, and driving geofences; also, restrictions on whether passengers are allowed in the vehicle and what ADAS safety features need to remain on. 

The flexibility of the solution and low barrier to innovate means OEMs can continuously deliver new, personalized features and experiences to customers. A “summer vent” feature could automatically air out a parked car on a hot day. Vehicle integration with smart-home devices makes it possible to automatically open the garage, turn on the lights, and deactivate security alarms when the driver gets close to home. And the list goes on.  

Achieve mass-customization more efficiently

Jimmy adds that with lightweight automation policies, OEMs can streamline their vehicle models and trims more efficiently. For example, by automating region-specific feature sets that take into account weather, terrain, and any number of other factors, OEMs can dynamically create custom trims based on consumer preferences, demographics, and more. 

Deliver endless delight on the road

The Sonatus Vehicle Personalization Solution ushers in a new era of customization and convenience in the automotive industry. It allows OEMs to put the power of vehicle personalization directly into the hands of their customers. Through the no-code automation framework and app-based routines that let drivers define their own vehicle experiences, automakers can continually delight end-users and build ongoing brand loyalty.

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