Drivers prefer smartphones in cars over car makers’ built-in systems designed to provide entertainment, car functionality and navigation.
This sounds dangerous on the face of it – and it is – until and unless the car systems can mirror successfully on, perhaps, bigger and less-distracting screens the same functions as our smartphones.
As we know, most of us now use smartphones as our personal assistant and that doesn’t end when one climbs behind the wheel of our two-ton vehicle which if operated carelessly can become a death trap for ourselves or others.
The point of all this is that drivers are used to the myriad of functions performed by our smartphones – including and especially navigation and communication – and as drivers we prefer to stick with the systems we know best: our phones.
For digital marketeers this extends an array of opportunities integrated with other digital platforms, not the least of which would be, as an example, Google Maps.
The link between smartphones and cars is, of course, Bluetooth.
“Consumer demand is increasing for more advanced in-vehicle connectivity, and the technology is there, but the integration is far from seamless,” said Kathy Rizk, director of automotive consulting at J.D. Power. “Owners want their vehicle systems to become an extension of their smartphone experience, with the same speed, responsiveness, and functionality. But early feedback is mixed, and J.D. Power consultants have independently uncovered significant concerns with some of the current market executions.”
The J.D. Power 2016 Smartphone Automotive Mirroring (SAM) Report.SM also found “technologies like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are allowing vehicle owners to use the larger screen in their vehicle to take advantage of the more advanced, internet-connected functions found on their smartphone.”
The J.D. Power survey, conducted between February and August 2016 found nearly 40 percent of new car owners (or lessees) never used their in-car systems and 56 percent stopped using their in-car systems within the first month.
A Deloitte survey found much of the same attitude and driver response, although nearly half of the respondents in that survey said they’d like to see at least “some” self-driving features become more useful in in-car systems.
According to the Deloitte study: “Out of the 32 features tested in our study, the top 5 among US consumers are related to safety and include technologies that:
- Recognize thepresence of objects on the road and avoid collisions
- Inform thedriver of dangerous driving situations
- Automatically block the driver from dangerous driving situations
- Automatically take action in medical situations
- Enable remote shutdown in case of theft”
The good news in all this is drivers really do focus on safety when it comes to technology in cars.
“Safety has long been a key differentiator for automotive brands, but instead of reactionary, physical safety features such as anti-lock brakes, crumple zones, and airbags, next-generation digital safety technologies are focused on preventing incidents from occurring in the first place,” suggests the Deloitte study.
“It is also interesting to note that the forward-looking safety features that top consumer wish lists also can be effectively described as enabling the car to perform certain tasks on its own (that is, autonomous technology). So even though US consumers seem cautious about self-driving cars, they are already buying, using, and wanting many of the technologies that would make fully autonomous vehicles a reality.”
However you use your smartphone in your car – and we’re all going to do it – PLEASE be careful and use it safely. NEVER text and drive. Use voice commands if you just have to communicate.