At the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, automakers like Chrysler, Ford, and Volkswagen are showing off technological advances in infotainment, safety, the connected vehicle, and the autonomous car. They include strategies to integrate drivers’ smartphone functions into the car’s own interface, collision control, gesture recognition, automatic parking, wireless charging and even automatic payment systems.
Will consumers buy? A new study from AutoTrader.com, the “Car Tech Impact Study” says yes -- and they are willing to pay more to get it. Fifty percent of the 1,033 respondents to the firm's Car Tech Impact Study, expedited by Harris Poll, said they were willing to wait up to just about a year to get next-generation features, and 51% said they were willing to pay up to $1,499 extra.
Forty-five percent of vehicle owners said they wish their current vehicle had onboard WiFi, and 19% list mobile WiFi as a must-have in their next vehicle. Roughly two in five vehicle owners polled said they wish their current vehicle had a backup camera (42%) or sensors (38%). Thirty-three percent want USB charging and a quarter want wireless device charging.
The study also suggests that consumers are split on smartphone integration versus dedicated on-board channels. About three-quarters of drivers said they don't expect their vehicles to be rolling smartphones, and over half would rather that automakers develop native infotainment services than integration with a driver's smartphone. Eighty percent, for example, said they would rather use on-board navigation than navigation apps on their phones. Over half of vehicle owners say that being able to use streaming services like Pandora or Spotify in their vehicle makes driving more enjoyable.
Of the 48% who do want automakers to spend their infotainment R&D in better integrating smartphones, seek a generic system that would be in vehicles from all manufacturers, e.g. Apple Car Play.
Automakers are also moving toward cars as hotspots. AutoTrader’s poll says that of the 3% of vehicle owners who have mobile WiFi in their vehicles, nearly two-thirds of them use it on a typical day.