Designing the Future Driving Experience

Every year, car makers roll out new concepts that tantalize our imaginations with what the future might hold: sleeker shapes, more efficient engines and, more recently, technological wizardry.  There’s a fine line that separates the potential of technology and what’s appropriate for the driver. Figuring out where to draw that line is the job of John Hendricks, who heads up the user experience design efforts of Windows Embedded Automotive – a role for which he’s uniquely suited given his rather diverse background.

After cutting his creative teeth under the big top of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, John launched a career in the entertainment industry with companies like Disney and Paramount. Over time, he held a variety of strategic and business development positions that required striking a balance between what was possible and what was most feasible. 

Eventually, a passion for robotics led John to Microsoft Research, before joining Windows Embedded. Today he leads a team of user experience designers in designing technology for what they call the intelligent car.

One of the designers on John’s team is Melissa Quintanilha. Originally  from Rio de Janeiro, Melissa loves the challenge of designing something for the limited capabilities and attention spans of the driver. And working on a product as widely used as Windows Embedded Automotive gives her the chance to combine her background in computer science and design with an appreciation for other cultures. 

For more on Microsoft’s work with the intelligent car, check out this piece from earlier this week in the Automotive News.