Design Talk 62. Automotive experience; Sam Livingstone, Director, Car Design Research

From debuting concept cars in computer games to re-imagining autonomous vehicles as luxurious overnight sleeping cabins, Sam Livingstone has been advising the automotive industry on customer-led design strategy for over 20 years. He talks to MEX founder Marek Pawlowski about the opportunities for vehicle manufacturers to embrace digital experience design, the potential for re-imagining car brands and the nuances of understanding the next generation’s attitudes to mobility. The conversation expands to explore Sam’s early roles with car makers, his teaching work at the Royal College of Art and where he looks for inspiration. Get in touch with feedback and questions @mexfeed on Twitter or email

Listen via

On this edition

"When we speak with people about their attitudes to car design, they're broadly satisfied…with the exception of the digital UX." Sam Livingstone, Director, Car Design Research Episode 62, MEX Design Talk podcast


  • Royal College of Art (RCA) Intelligent Mobility Design MA programme, where Sam teaches.
  • Motor Triathlon Race Car (MTRC), a virtual concept car introduced in Gran Turismo 4 during the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, mentioned by Sam as an example project.
  • Blog post from TOPP, a Swedish design studio, about using VR for automotive prototyping. Mentioned by Marek as an example of designers may experiment with cars in the future.
  • Volvo 360c, an electric, autonomous and connected vehicle concept mentioned by Sam as a project informed by Car Design Research’s work.
  • The ES8, an electric vehicle by Chinese manufacturer Nio, mentioned by Sam as an example of a car company focusing on the role of its own virtual personal assistant (VPA) known as NOMI.
  • Citymapper Pass, a mobility subscription giving access to public transport, bikes and cabs in London, launched by the Citymapper app. Mentioned by Marek as an example of how different types of companies may become the dominant providers of mobility in the future.
  • Palm, an example of a smartphone brand given new life by Alcatel TCL, which also manufactures Blackberry products under license. Mentioned by Marek as an example of how technology companies re-invigorate old brands.
  • The history of Audi, mentioned by Sam as an example of an automotive brand revival.
  • The story of Bugatti, which emerged from bankruptcy in the 1990s to manufacture some of the world’s most expensive luxury cars. Mentioned by Sam as another example of automotive brand revival.
  • Facel Vega, a now defunct French manufacturer of luxury cars, mentioned by Sam as an example of a brand he’d like to see return.
  • Daewoo Motors, where Sam held an early role as a design strategist.
  • That’ll be the Daewoo‘, the advertising slogan used by Daewoo Motors in the UK, shown here in a Youtube clip from around 1998.

"Consider how fast virtual assistants have been adopted outside of manufacturers would be naive to ignore the impact on customer expectations." Sam Livingstone, Director, Car Design Research Episode 62, MEX Design Talk podcast

About MEX Design Talk & how to get in touch

The podcast for the MEX community, interviewing UX pioneers, exploring emerging technologies, user behaviour and how to design better digital experiences.


  • Jukedeck, for the artificial intelligence engine which provided the music

+ There are no comments

Add yours