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Consumers Expect Full In-Car Connectivity

Drivers worldwide increasingly expect their cars to be “the next connected space,” a seamless extension to their already connected homes and offices, according to a global consumer study conducted by GfK, a market research firm based in Germany.

At a time when practically all automotive manufacturers are in a fierce race for new auto “infotainment” systems, it is critical to know drivers' perceptions of the user experience, and to measure their desire for new features in car infotainment systems.

GfK surveyed drivers in the United States, Japan, Germany, and Italy on their experience with the human-machine interfaces of auto infotainment systems. The study also looked at what features drivers would like in the future.

(Source: GfK's Automotive HMI User Experience Study 2014)

(Source: GfK's Automotive HMI User Experience Study 2014)

When asked to assess their current cars' infotainment systems, drivers in the United States appeared most satisfied. They gave higher scores than Japanese drivers, who turned out to be the toughest graders. On the scale of 1 (don't agree at all) to 6 (completely agree), the average user experience score in the US for their infotainment systems was 4.6, compared to 3.8 in Japan.

The survey also probed consumers' interest in new features of infotainment systems. Globally speaking, drivers were most interested in infotainment that works on many formats (e.g., iOS, Android, Windows 8). Ease of access (such as voice support) came in second. Color head-up display systems were next.

Drivers' interest in having a tablet PC “as a full replacement of built-in infotainment” came in the fourth. Less popular, globally speaking, were gesture control and video conferencing.

(Source: GfK's Automotive HMI User Experience Study 2014)

(Source: GfK's Automotive HMI User Experience Study 2014)

While in the United States the top three feature requirements were similar to those in other countries, two features stood out as more desirable in the US compared to Germany and Japan: the ability to videoconference in-car and waterproof/spill-proof interior vehicle electronics.

In analyzing the survey results, Donna Miller, executive vice president for automotive at GfK, said in a statement:

Looking to the near future, it seems American drivers and passengers expect to be fully connected to the internet when on the move, managing video conferencing and multimedia. With so much of our time spent connected to the web from numerous devices, it's only a matter of time before the car is the next connected space.

For the full story, see EBN sister site EETimes.

9 comments on “Consumers Expect Full In-Car Connectivity

  1. Ariella
    September 22, 2014

    “the ability to videoconference in-car ” If this becomes a reality, we may take distracted driving to a whole new level. Never mind the warnings of texting while driving, we'll have warnings about videoconferencing while driving. 

  2. FLYINGSCOT
    September 22, 2014

    I remember my first car.  It was an Italian Fiat 127 lime green.  When I flipped the windscreen wiper switch the radio would stop working.  When I hit the brakes the indicators would flash.  I reckon Italian cars will struggle implementing a full infotainment solution unless one thinks watching random lights flash in an uncontrolled fashion is actually entertainment.

  3. Eldredge
    September 22, 2014

    @Flyingscot – It sounds like you had one of the first connected cars!

  4. Eldredge
    September 22, 2014

    I have some catching up to do.  I just recently transitioned from a car with a cassette player to one with a CD.

  5. Daniel
    September 23, 2014

    Looking to the near future, it seems American drivers and passengers expect to be fully connected to the internet when on the move, managing video conferencing and multimedia. With so much of our time spent connected to the web from numerous devices, it's only a matter of time before the car is the next connected space.

    Junko, i think expectations are more; whether we really need such kind of connectivity within the car?

  6. Susan Fourtané
    September 23, 2014

    Ariella, 

    Video-conferencing in a self-driving car is not dangerous as the driver is not going to be doing the driving, but using his/her time for doing something else. 

    -Susan

  7. Susan Fourtané
    September 23, 2014

    Flyingscot, 

    That can sounds very funny. 😀 What year are we talking about?

    -Susan

  8. Adeniji Kayode
    September 23, 2014

    Well, you are right. In a self-driving car there is no driver in the first place , you only have passagers.

  9. Ariella
    September 23, 2014

    @Susan yes, though I read this as a feature in general, not one restricted to self-driving cars.  Of course, it's possible that drivers will only use it when parked, but I'm sure the temptation will be there to respond to a video call, the same way it is there to respond to a call or text while driving.

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