Popular Science has an interesting article about the new Honda Insight and some of the ways that it helps drivers drive in a more fuel efficient manner. Two of the techniques show a very strong game design influence:
Kudos For Being Green
The Insight’s Eco Guide makes sensible driving as entertaining as playing a videogame. Starting with empty graphical “stalks” shown on the multi-information display, efficient drivers can earn “leaves” that fill out the five branches. Over the car’s lifetime, a thrifty pilot can accumulate a second tier of leaves, then a flower on each branch. When a driver grows all five plants, the screen displays a trophy.
Real Time Visual Feedback:
One of two driver-feedback systems on the Insight, Eco Assist displays a glowing arc above the digital speedometer. The arc’s color varies from blue (wasteful) to blue-green (somewhat efficient) to green (efficient), depending on how a driver accelerates or decelerates. A separate screen near the tachometer displays twin bar graphs that show drivers how their starting and stopping habits affect fuel consumption.