What new automotive tech actually interests drivers?

November 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

Plenty of new technologies, fuel alternatives and smart vehicle options are out on the market. The result: a better driving experience, and a cleaner, greener carbon footprint. But are consumers actually opting for these options? A new study from researchers hailing from the Korea Environment Institute, University of Texas at Austin, Georgia Institute of technology, and King Abdullah University aims to analyze consumer preference data on alternative fuel types and technology options.

Image from FuFuWolf.

Image from FuFuWolf.

Technology is going through “a period of rapid change,” with auto manufacturers and technology developers developing smart vehicle options, alternate fuel types and new in-car technologies, impacting both convenience and safety. Take Toyota, which has partnered with Microsoft to develop cloud telematics and with RIM on a multimedia, in-car platform that works with Android and Apple phones. Then there’s General Motors, which has partnered with Google, installing an Android operating system in electric vehicles as well as with Verizon to deliver Internet-based multimedia service. Other partnerships include Hyundai with Samsung, BMW with Vodafone, and Google with an array of auto manufacturers which are working on self-driving systems.

For the study, researchers targeted a sample of consumers from six metro areas in South Korea on their willingness to pay for an array of smart vehicle features, including vehicle connectivity, voice command, autonomous driving, wireless Internet and communications, and smart vehicle applications, such as real time traveler information on parking/traffic conditions. The researchers also determined consumer preferences for vehicle fuel types and various technology options.

What did the researchers find? Firstly, they determined that vehicle type choice is not merely influenced by demographic and socioeconomic factors. It is also influenced by the type of smart vehicle options that are included in the vehicle choice. Take this example: customers who value of voice command option are less likely to purchase a diesel vehicle, “possibly because the noise of the diesel engine would interfere with the operation of the voice command feature.” Another finding: auto purchasers are, in general, likely to purchase cars, of any fuel type, with smart applications to provide real-time traveler information on parking/traffic.

The researchers also discovered that younger consumers seemed to value self-driving features in electric and hybrid vehicles more than older customers. Younger people were also more likely to choose electric and hybrid cars. Among low-income individuals, the researchers found resistance to buying alternative-fuel cars, although this population was interested in smart car applications, such as real-time traffic info, even more than high-income individuals. The researchers suggest that high-income individuals are likely to access such traffic information through their mobile devices, and, because of this access, they may be less interested in an in-vehicle app.

So, how much are consumers willing to pay? On average, this particular study found that those analyzed were willing to pay about $1500 for wireless connectivity and Internet/communications, and roughly $500 for smart real-time application features and the voice command.

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Category: News, Transportation

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