Commentary

Consumers Crave Advanced Technology In Vehicles

Gadgets are great, but when they keep you from having an accident, they are outstanding. 

If you’ve not had the chance to drive a vehicle with automatic braking or lane departure warning, you are missing out. It’s amazing to feel the car braking and keeping you from getting too close to the vehicle in front of you. The only downside to the lane departure warnings is in some cases they are too sensitive and go off too frequently which causes a “boy who cried wolf” effect. As technology improves, that is likely to be corrected.

It’s now possible to listen to your text messages and send text messages without touching your phone. That is, if it’s connected to your smart car’s infotainment system. 

According to IHS Automotive forecasts, 55% of annual global new vehicle sales in 2020 will be vehicles that are connected – and at that time, nearly half of the global fleet of vehicles in operation will be connected. Findings from a new IHS Automotive global consumer survey, Connected Cars, indicate that new advanced technologies and increased connectivity are driving consumer preferences as they consider new vehicles.

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More than 4,000 vehicle owners intending to purchase a new vehicle within the next 36 months were surveyed. Through the survey, IHS Automotive analysts sought to understand which services are must-haves for consumers intending on purchasing a new vehicle for personal use in the next three years, as well as gain an understanding on the propensity of consumers who would be willing to pay for these advanced technologies — and assess how much they would be willing to spend. Manufacturers and technology suppliers can use these findings to help address market needs as they develop new solutions for the global marketplace.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS, are systems to help the driver while driving. When designed with a safe Human-Machine Interface, they should increase car safety and, more generally, road safety. While ADAS systems are most desirable among global survey respondents, consumers do not want to pay for these advancements.  

Traditionally packaged within vehicles as part of optional features like leather seats and high-end infotainment systems, advanced safety systems are expected by consumers to be included in new vehicles at no charge — since electronic stability control systems and pre-charged brakes have become standard equipment on a global scale.

However, of the global audience, U.S. consumers are most willing to pay for ADAS features, indicating they would be willing to spend between $427 and $505 at the time of vehicle purchase, depending on the feature. This is in line with current market prices.

Seventy-four percent of consumers who currently own a vehicle with an infotainment system are willing to pay for software updates that improve or add functionality to their vehicle, and the response was universally global. In the U.S., 89% of Millennials surveyed indicated they would pay for a software update.

The most often used apps by consumers while in their vehicle were those intended for navigation, as indicated by 52% of respondents globally. Apps for weather were second, with 41% of respondents, and 37% of consumers reported using both music and news apps while in their vehicles. 

Not surprisingly, these features are the most popular for embedded displays in audio and navigation systems. Interestingly, podcasting apps registered very low among the audience surveyed, despite a recent resurgence in popularity.

Nearly one-third of survey respondents in all age categories indicated they would ride in a self-driving vehicle and purchase one. An additional 25% suggested that while they would indeed ride in one, they would not purchase one.

However, Millennials are excited about autonomy — when analyzing responses from Millennials, more than half are ready to be driven in one and would purchase one, while nearly 75% are comfortable with artificial intelligence driving the vehicle.  

Recent IHS Automotive forecasts indicate 21 million vehicles with some form of autonomy will be sold in 2035 — and with substantial growth between now and then, it’s possible Millennials could make up a large share of the initial customer base for these advanced vehicles. Since the members of this demographic tend to be trend setters, it’s likely if they lead, the rest of the population will follow, which is going to make driving a completely new experience.

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