Cognition, Technology & Work

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 36–45 | Cite as

COMUNICAR: designing a multimedia, context-aware human-machine interface for cars

  • F. BellottiEmail author
  • A. De Gloria
  • R. Montanari
  • N. Dosio
  • D. Morreale
Original Article


The European Union co-funded COMUNICAR (communication multimedia unit inside car) project designed and developed an integrated multimedia human–machine interface (HMI) able to manage a wide variety of driver information systems (from entertainment to safety). COMUNICAR proposed an innovative information provision paradigm, in which the on-vehicle HMI is able to tailor the delivery of the information in real time according to the actual driving context and the driver’s workload. COMUNICAR adopted a user-centred design process involving an iterative development based on extensive user tests since the early phases of the project. This approach was particularly useful to define and improve the layout of the user interface and specify the rules that decide the scheduling and the modalities of the delivery of the information messages to the driver. This paper introduces the COMUNICAR concept and the user-centred flow of design. Then, a concrete case of user-test driven, iterative improvement of a system’s functionality is presented. We also briefly describe two software tools that we have designed to enhance the development process in a user-centred perspective. Finally, the future evolution of the concept of smart and safe information scheduling is sketched and discussed.


Information Management System Virtual Prototype Driving Simulator Road Test Critical Scenario 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to the anonymous reviewers, whose comments have significantly contributed to enhance the quality of the paper. We would like to thank our colleagues of the COMUNICAR consortium for their precious collaboration in the project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Bellotti
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. De Gloria
    • 1
  • R. Montanari
    • 2
  • N. Dosio
    • 3
  • D. Morreale
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Electronics and Biophysical EngineeringUniversity of GenovaGenovaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Sciences and Methods of EngineeringUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaReggio EmiliaItaly
  3. 3.FIAT Research CenterOrbassano (TO)Italy

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