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In-Car HMI UX Evaluation & Benchmarking: Xiaomi SU7

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Today, many OEMs are racing towards the Software-Defined Vehicle by increasing the number of technologies equipped in their latest models. However, the success of these technologies, which are playing an increasingly important role in these new models, depends on their ability to deliver a seamless and satisfactory user experience. For OEMs, developers, and suppliers, delivering this experience secures both successful product launches, and long-term customer loyalty with the vehicle and its ecosystem of digital services.

 

Recognizing how these HMI features can positively, or negatively, contribute to the in-vehicle user experience is our In-Car HMI UX Evaluation & Benchmarking report series. Representing one of our best-selling, longest running, reports, it provides a comprehensive, analytical, assessment of the latest HMI systems launched globally. Across 2024, our UX experts will review and benchmark the systems provided in six recently released vehicles to understand who is leading the space, and who is falling behind.


Following our article on the 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class HMI UX report, this Insight covers the latest entry in the series, which takes a deep dive into the Xiaomi SU7. While sharing its IVI and UX highlights, we will also be outlining the strengths and weaknesses posed by some of the new EV’s most interesting technologies and more deeply analyzing their implications on the end user experience.


A Closer Look at the Xiaomi SU7

The user experience of the SU7 revolves around the Xiaomi EV Smart Cabin – the tech giant’s proprietary infotainment system that combines a 16.1-inch 3K central console, a 56-inch HUD, a 7.1-inch rotating dashboard, and two seat-back extension mounts for tablet devices. Powering these displays, and the system more broadly, is Snapdragon 8295, an in-vehicle chip that leverages AI computing power to process up to 30 trillion operations per second (TOPS).

 

While offering cross-device connection with consumer smartphones, Xiaomi’s in-car OS also integrates mainstream applications into its app library, including the full Xiaomi tablet application system. Over time, Xiaomi expects its IVI system to adapt to more than 5000 applications present across this ecosystem today.

 

In terms of hardware integration, the SU7 will offer support for more than 1000 of Xiaomi’s smart home devices, enabling functions such as automatic discovery, password-free access, and the ability to set up automation scenarios. The car interior also offers pin-point expansion connections, supporting plug-and-play functionality for a wide range of devices. Further support is offered through CarPlay, the mounting of iPads and iPad accessories, and applications on the rear extension mount.

 

Key Takeaways

When testing the technologies offered throughout the Xiaomi EV Smart Cabin, our UX team discovered a unique advantage in the system’s smartphone integration capabilities – which they believed to surpass many other systems they had tested previously. While natively supporting CarPlay, the SU7’s smartphone integration features excel when paired with a Xiaomi-brand mobile device.

This pairing not only allows for phone mirroring, but also enables the user’s downloaded apps to become ‘widgets’ that can be accessed on the IVI, while facilitating synchronized navigation interactions from the phone to the car. Our UX experts felt that the seamless experience of connecting external devices to the Xiaomi EV Smart Cabin allows for an app ecosystem and hardware resources to be shared in a way that enhances its overall user experience. At the same time, they highlighted that this enhancement cannot typically be realized through a single device, alone. Our experts similarly noted that this integration will be especially useful for customers who are already invested in Xiaomi’s technology ecosystem (owning a Xiaomi-brand smartphone or tablet), although may be less convenient for users who do not own a Xiaomi phone, or a device from one of their sub-brands.



However, while they were impressed by Xiaomi’s pairing of its existing smartphone ecosystem with its debut EV, our experts found the SU7 to be missing a number of key hygiene features. Many of these related to the EV’s radio and ADAS features, and together represented a detractor in its overall benchmarking and evaluation. One major absence was the inability for users to save, or store, a favorite AM or FM radio station for quick access – which our team considered to be a hygiene feature that some users would expect to see in any modern vehicle, despite the popularity of internet radio stations in the China region.


Among the minor hygiene feature issues were the SU7’s limited input methods, lack of adequate ADAS labelling, and lack of headway display while its ACC or PD systems were active. Here, our experts underlined that if Xiaomi was to resolve these issues through OTA updates, the SU7 could achieve a stronger UX score than high-ranking vehicles previously reviewed in our HMI UX Benchmarking & Evaluation Report series, including the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Ultimately, however, our experts concluded that while the system represents a strong application of Xiaomi’s consumer electronics knowledge to a contemporary IVI and infotainment scenarios, the features currently missing from its system demonstrate the lessons it can learn from traditional OEMs on delivering basic feature experiences, and more advanced delight features.


Analysis

Taking a deep dive into the SU7’s infotainment system allowed our experts to discover even more insights on the user experience it provides through its array of advanced technologies.


One of these technologies is a large language model (LLM) Xiaomi has integrated into the SU7 to facilitate more human-like interactions with its voice recognition system. Representing a feature our experts felt that many users would enjoy, this AI-based integration helps users complete tasks more quickly, and with greater accuracy. When testing it, our UX team was impressed by the depth of results provided by voice requests processed through the LLM, especially when compared to similar voice recognition systems that do not utilize an LLM.


When digging deeper into the SU7’s smartphone integration capabilities, our experts found a potential drawback that, for a particular demographic, could impact the UX as a whole. Because these capabilities largely rely on a connection between the car and a Xiaomi-brand smartphone, the experience offered when connecting the vehicle to non-Xiaomi devices is limited by comparison. The system, for example, offers no support for phones made by Huawei and HONOR – both of which operate under major consumer electronics giants in China. In limiting the SU7’s comprehensive smartphone integration capabilities to its own ecosystem, Xiaomi may likely disappoint SU7 customers who do not own one of their phones, or a smartphone that is directly compatible with the full reach of these capabilities. With the SU7 having just launched in the China region, however, it has yet to be seen whether this issue would be enough of a detractor to dissuade some consumers from purchasing the EV altogether.


Next Steps

As shown through this article, the all-new Xiaomi SU7 offers a uniquely software-centric, smartphone-focused, range of HMI features – some of which excel beyond similar offerings in the China market. Within their testing and analysis of the EV, our experts commended the Xiaomi EV Smart Cabin’s deep integration with the Xiaomi ecosystem, and its native AI capabilities, while also pointing out how opening this integration up to third-party smartphones could further broaden its appeal, and how utilizing OTA could solve the teething problems of Xiaomi’s missing hygiene features. The discoveries and knowledge shared throughout this article, however, represent only a portion of the insights shared in the full Xiaomi SU7 HMI UX report.

 

Spanning more than 150 pages, it provides even deeper insights into the user experience of the new EV’s features across several key domains, including ADAS, infotainment, navigation, and voice recognition. While scoring these features and functions against our proven evaluation methodologies, the report more broadly benchmarks the SU7 against both the vehicles reviewed across our 2023 HMI UX reports, and the vehicles reviewed in our 2024 HMI UX reports to date.

 

Want to learn more about the latest in-vehicle HMI solutions, their impacts on the end user experience, and which vehicle offers the best user experience? Then be sure to secure your copy of our In-Car HMI UX Evaluation & Benchmarking series!




 


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