hamish tennent

White autonmous SEDRIC volkswagen vehicle driving between two cones, a passenger is visible inside waving through the window.
Volkswagen SEDRIC autonomous vehicle.

VW Autonomous Vehicles

Senior UX Design Technologist

Our 15+ person California based team operated in partnership with our Germany and China based colleagues (100+ total people) under a common organisational umbrella. As a group we lead the early stages of design for future level 4+ self driving vehicles through defining design frameworks, features and requirements. Our responsibilities included grounding previous conceptual work — such as the Volkswagen SEDRIC — in a ~5+ year engineering timeline and product strategy that solved problems caused by competitors mobility solutions.

I worked on multiple pre-production self driving vehicles including the ID.Buzz. I lead projects delivering design packages into engineering and project management departments to impact; seating layout and design, identification and authentication UX technologies, passenger safety systems and more.

2018 -> 2021
Key Methods. Experience Prototyping. Ethnographic Research. Service Blueprints. Design Handoff
3D rendering of the authenication procedure between a person with a mobile phone in their hand and an autonmous ridehailing car.
Autonomous car authenticating rider who has a smartphone with Bluetooth Low Energy technology.
Example of a new car development timeline, showing how early our team was working in the development process in order to impact the overall vehicle design.
Autonmous car interior seats, with wrap around headrests for rider privacy
Wrap around headrests for privacy in a ridesharing setup where riders may not all know one another.
Project Information

We functioned in a flat organisational structure where sub-teams were created around specific design topics. I lead projects around topics of interior seating layouts, cargo and luggage storage, interpersonal safety for women in ridesharing, emergency buttons and more. All the while working as part of project teams focused on topics ranging from UI, UX, industrial design to product strategy. Outside of specific feature sprints I also lead our teams work into designing overall UX product strategy, creating system architecture roadmaps to understand how the complex interplay of features ensured sufficient redundancies for maximum accessibility.

Key challenges in this work included working as part of a large distributed global team. It required grounding solid design work into massive complex engineering process with resilience such that they could translate and have maximum impact.