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WardsAuto, LTU partner in auto UX student design competition

Release Date: September 25, 2018
WardsAuto UX conference

Keith Nagara, director of LTU's transportation and industrial design programs, and LTU students at the 2017 WardsAuto UX conference
LTU photo / Matt Roush.

DETROIT -- WardsAuto is partnering with Lawrence Technological University (LTU) to hold the second WardsAuto UX Student Design Competition this fall.

Inteva Products is the sponsor of the competition. Twelve students will dedicate their fall semester projects to discovering new automotive UX concepts.

User Experience – or UX – is a term used in Silicon Valley in reference to consumer electronics such as smartphones. But now it's the hottest buzzword in the automotive industry, as connectivity and advanced driver-assist features become the most important vehicle attributes to many consumers.

New mobility solutions, including ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft, ride-sharing apps, and subscription vehicle leasing, are leading to situations where drivers and occupants may find themselves in a vehicle for only a few minutes, or a few days, rather than years at a time.

Recognizing these dramatic changes in how people interact with vehicles, students are being asked to find new technologies, materials and UX concepts that can be applied to future car and truck interiors that empower drivers and passengers with the flexibility to personalize their space inside the vehicle.

The goal is to determine ways to create relationships with brands, rather than specific vehicles, and create portable profiles that are secure and long lasting.

The student work will be spotlighted during the WardsAuto User Experience Conference on Oct. 2 in Novi. Keith Nagara, director of LTU's transportation and industrial design programs, and Inteva Products will introduce the competition to the audience during a special presentation during the conference.

"The students are in the early stages of their conceptual and design work," said Drew Winter, senior content director at WardsAuto, "But already we're seeing some amazing ideas being fleshed out."

WardsAuto will be following the student projects throughout the semester, posting regular updates.

The final work of the LTU students will be judged by a panel of top automotive UX designers in December, and winners will be announced on

Registration for the WardsAuto User Experience Conference is open at

WardsAuto has provided automotive insights and analysis for more than 90 years. A Southfield-based business unit of the London-based publishing and information company Informa plc, its services include the premium suite of customizable data reporting tools, the WardsAuto Interiors and Wards Intelligence Outlook and Focus Conferences, and digital newsletters and magazines. More at


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