Actualites > Smartphones are driving consumer demand for connected cars to an all-time high

Smartphones are driving consumer demand for connected cars to an all-time high

 - 06/01/2016

In the US alone, nearly two thirds of drivers now want connectivity to be built into their next new car, suggesting that 2016 could be the year when cars take their first real step towards safer, autonomous motoring.

According to new Parks Associates research published ahead of the 2016 International CES, 44% of car owners in US broadband households already have some a connected car feature on their current vehicle and 64% of drivers want connected car features as standard on their next new ride.

This should be greeted as good news for anyone in favor of self-driving cars. Connected cars are safer cars. They can access real-time information on traffic and weather conditions and, crucially, communicate with other vehicles and even road infrastructure so that they know when there's a car around the corner, out of sight, or if the light ahead is about to change color.

As Gerhard Steiger, the president, Chassis Systems Control division, at Bosch explains: "For highly automated driving to become reality, we need a certain level of connectivity. Highly automated vehicles rely on environmental information -- information that goes beyond what sensors can gather." Meaning a connection to a server, and to each other.

This year in Japan, Toyota launched the world's first mass-market connected car, the Crown. It can talk to infrastructure and other vehicles.

Starting with the in-car experience

However, for now, the driving force behind this demand according to Parks research, is more about having smartphone-like systems and user experiences in the cabin.

Respondents ranked turn-by-turn navigation as the most important connected car feature, followed closely by systems such as GM's OnStar which automatically alerts the emergency services in case of an accident.

"Automakers are keying into this demand by embedding connectivity in new vehicle models. Many are also supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto -- they do not want these mobile-centric solutions to be differentiators for their competitors," said Jennifer Kent, Director, Research Quality & Product Development, Parks Associates.

Yet, consumers are also intrigued by how the car could control the Internet of Things. A quarter of those polled were intrigued by the idea of their car automatically activating and deactivating settings within the home.

New-model Mercedes can already communicate with the Nest thermostat, for example, firing up the heating or air conditioning automatically when the car is within a certain distance from the house.

"Car-generated data will increasingly enrich connected solutions outside the car, while also offering an interaction touch point for those external solutions from within the car," said Kent.


Photo credits: ©Hyundai