Connected cars are no longer just about infotainment systems and WiFi. A new report finds that drivers are starting to recognise a whole range of benefits
Demand for connected cars is growing, with more than 70 per cent of drivers claiming to be interested in using, or already using, connected car services, according to a new report.
In a survey of over 5,000 consumers by telecommunications company Telefonica, around half said they would now consider connected features a key part of their next car purchase.
Increased safety, early warning systems and smarter navigation were cited as the most popular features, with almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of drivers listing safety and diagnostics as the most important.
Usage-based insurance models were also very popular, with 54 per cent of UK drivers choosing it as one of the connected car features they would be most interested in.
Most drivers want to access connected services through their dashboard, with 60 per cent of respondents across all markets preferring to access features in this way.
However, the preferred method of payment differed between countries. Most Spanish drivers would prefer a one-off payment while those in America, Germany and the UK would favour free basic connectivity with the option to pay for additional services.
“Many consumers currently think of connected car services in terms infotainment and WiFi, but this changes when they are made aware of the variety of options that the technology can offer,” said Pavan Mathew, global head of connected car at Telefónica.
“Safety and diagnostics appear to be the most attractive features to drivers, illustrating just how important factors such as road safety and vehicle maintenance are in consumer purchasing decisions.”
He said that he expects to see a gradual creep of connectivity into vehicles over the next few years but there won’t be an explosion over the next 12 months, because there are still a lot of complex challenges that need to be addressed.
The report comes at a time when the connected car space is growing rapidly – with initiatives being announced from traditional car companies and telcos, as well as the likes of Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto .
Ian Digman, general manager at Nissan, added that just because people are in a car, doesn’t mean they want to be disconnected from their normal life.
“We are seeing a drive from consumers to actually have the same level of connectivity in the car that they would have whilst walking down the street, whilst sat in their front room, whilst sat on public transport,” said Digman.
Meanwhile John Ellis, global technologist at Ford, envisions a future for connected cars that goes far beyond smart dashboards.
“Over the next decade I think we’ll see autonomy overshadowed slightly by the use of smart materials in vehicles. Things like materials that deflect water, refract light or change colour,” he said.
“And then beyond that I think we’ll start to see some very cool stuff around nano electro-mechanical materials where you could start doing things with self-forming circuitry and self-morphing materials.”
Telefónica’s Connected Car Industry Report 2014 is available here .