Škoda wanted to enhance its in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system with an application that can push the boundaries of human-car interaction while addressing the challenge of drivers being distracted by children.
Škoda supposed that an interactive game, reproducing the vehicle performance in a very realistic way, would be the best recreational activity for long trips to keep children occupied and to allow adults to concentrate on driving.
To conceptualize the idea and then fuel it with design and technology, Škoda chose Bamboo Apps as an innovation partner.
Bamboo Apps helped Škoda to develop an IVI-based educational game that teaches children driving basics and road safety tips.
The application brings a brand-new rear-seat entertainment experience. Sitting in the back seat, children can imitate all the actions of the real driver on a tablet or smartphone in real-time: steering, acceleration, turning, braking — and earn points when they are correct.
Bamboo Apps supported Škoda’s vision of how game mechanics can look. The dedicated gameplay designer helped to plan and define the game structure, its rules, features, and scoring system.
To make Škoda LittleDriver more engaging for players, and at the same time, maximize the app user retention rate, we suggested to create 3 different modes of play:
By using tablets and smartphones, children can repeat a parent’s actions: steer the wheel, press the pedals, or turn on the blinkers.
By earning coins, children can unlock new models in the app’s market and personalize them with different colors, stickers, and wheels.
Children are provided with lessons on traffic rules and road safety, followed by an engaging quiz.
Based on the core elements of the gameplay, we helped the client to define a detailed list of project requirements, which were later documented in tech specifications. After a thorough analysis of the documentation, we provided Škoda with the comprehensive estimation of the future project.
Together with Škoda’s product management team, we went through all stages of the UX/UI design process.
After several wireframing sessions, the structure of the app, including a set of screens with required elements and interactions between them, was defined. At the stage of mockups creation, we offered a number of alternatives in terms of color palette, fonts, images, content placement, etc. A click-through prototype provided a high-fidelity representation of the future product. The usage of the prototype allowed us to gather valuable feedback on usability from users and stakeholders.
The alignment of visuals with the client’s brand identity was the cornerstone of UX/UI design. According to Škoda’s conception, each car has a different mood, and Bamboo Apps’ design team endowed them with human facial features, individual ‘emotions’, and ‘senses’. Based on the Škoda’s line-up, we created ten animated toy cars as game characters, each representing the style of a full-size vehicle.
To enhance the gameplay experience, our design team provided huge customization capabilities for players within the Driving and Garage modes. Users can dress up each car in seven colors, pick from three types of rims, and three kinds of decorative stickers.
To deliver elegant connectivity between a car and mobile devices, Škoda uses SmartLink+, a system supporting MirrorLink®, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto technologies. The system includes the SmartGate control unit, which is connected to the CAN bus. Due to this connection, SmartGate can read out more than 40 different vehicle parameters and transmit it via WiFi to a driver’s or a passenger’s device.
To make Škoda LittleDriver fully compatible with the in-vehicle infotainment system, our engineers used SmartLink+ SDK. Due to this integration, the app can access a huge amount of live vehicle data. Information such as speed, fuel level, brake status, and even the steering position can be used for gameplay purposes and displayed in real-time on a tablet or smartphone.
Substantial work was done for the app localization. Together with Škoda, we implemented a continuous localization process, which allowed to publish translation updates without the need to resubmit a new version of the application.
On the QA testing stage, our specialists emulated all in-car data remotely by using a standalone SmartGate device. We also kept close communication with Škoda’s engineers while they tested app bundles onboard in real-time.