Recently I have been researching some automotive apps on the market for another final project from class, COM597: Interactive Design. The practical functions of current automotive apps include educational tutorials, driving logs, gas finders for cheap gas, repair estimates, finding a mechanic near you and tracking personal or business mileage any time with log applications. Since I don’t drive, I am not a huge fan downloading those apps. However, I am really impressed by one unique concept of an app called” Backseat Driver”. This iPhone application is introduced by Toyota, which allows users to enjoy driving from the back seat of their car.
How the app works is the player—it is designed for the kids— controls the app following the driver. The moves mirror the route of the real car in which the player is riding by GPS functionality but the scenes are created like animated cartoons. By steering left and right on the app, users follow the driver’s car path and pick up and collective items such as pencils or paperclips. Users can gain points by collecting the items, landmark icons of shops and facilities that are from the real maps. After gaining some points, they are able to customize their car with own designs. Besides, the route they took will be saved automatically for looking over. Having fun alone is not enough, the designs of the car and the saved route can be shared via the User’s Twitter.
The app targets kids who are not able to drive and builds an intimate interaction with the drivers. Their marketing strategy reminds me when I interviewed the car buyers for my final project and some of them mentioned when picking a car, they are influenced by the brand preferences of their family. Also, some brand images have already deeply rooted in their hearts. Therefore, apps like “Backseat Driver” definitely offer passengers a new way to enjoy driving and increase their brand favorability.