Study shows safety tech hogs consumer interest

By CARSIFU | 24 April 2015

LOS ANGELES: Three of the top five technologies consumers most prefer in their next vehicle are related to collision protection, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Tech Choice Study released on Wednesday.

Technologies that reduce the overall burden of driving and enhance the safety of the vehicle and its occupants receive the most consumer attention. Among the technologies consumers express most interest in having in their next vehicle are blind spot detection and prevention systems, night vision, and enhanced collision mitigation systems.

These findings demonstrate growing customer acceptance towards the concept of the vehicle taking over critical functions such as braking and steering, which are the foundational building blocks leading to the possibility of fully-autonomous driving.

The only non-collision protection technologies to crack the top five are camera rearview mirror, which falls into the driving assistance category, and self-healing paint, a comfort and convenience category.

The inaugural study uses advanced statistical methodologies to measure preference for and perceived value of future and emerging technologies. A total of 59 advanced vehicle features are examined across six major categories: entertainment and connectivity; comfort and convenience; collision protection; driving assistance; navigation; and energy efficiency.

“There is a tremendous interest in collision protection technologies across all generations, which creates opportunities across the market,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power.

“In contrast, there is very little interest in energy efficiency technologies such as active shutter grille vents and solar glass roofs. Owners aren’t as enthusiastic about having these technologies in their next vehicle because of other efforts automakers are taking to improve fuel economy, as well as relatively low fuel prices at the present time.”

Smartphones play an increasingly vital role in everyday life, and vehicle technology is beginning to mirror what is offered on those devices, yet Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto technologies consistently have among the lowest preference scores across all generations.

Consumer preferences for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are uniquely dependent on which smartphone they own. Those who currently own a smartphone that is compatible with one of these technologies would choose the technology compatible with their phone at only a moderate rate, while those with the opposite brand of smartphone will rarely, if ever, choose that technology.

For example, Android owners indicate that Apple CarPlay is “unacceptable” nearly twice as often as they indicate that solar glass roof is unacceptable. Similarly, Apple phone owners indicate that Android Auto is “unacceptable” nearly twice as often as solar glass roof.

Across all generations, price is the most important consideration for technology, accounting for 25.2 percent of importance.  Gen Y is the least sensitive to technology price and shows a greater willingness to spend on new technologies than the other generations.

TechChoice Least-Most Chart 1_0