Car tech more important than driving performance

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Car makers are realising that connected vehicles are a critical part of their product offering. In fact 66% of respondents to a 2014 Accenture survey said that in-car technology was more important than driving performance .

Massive changes are afoot in the auto industry. There's the obvious - like moves away from fossil fuel to electric vehicles and other greener alternatives. Then there's self driving cars: once the domain of future schlock magazines like Popular Mechanics but now progressing to driverless car trials around the world including Australia. Right now on trend in the industry is in-car technology and communication support.

In-car technology has the potential to improve safety and make driving more enjoyable.

When IHS Automotive conducted a survey of more than 4,000 consumers in the US, China, Germany and the UK for their report Apps in the Car 2015 they found 90 per cent of the survey participants owned a smartphoneii.

"Not surprisingly, these devices have wide implications for consumer behaviour while driving and influence consumer expectations on how vehicles and apps should integrate with them," claimed Colin Bird, senior analyst, automotive software, apps and services at IHS Automotive when announcing the report.

Accenture discovered that 61 per cent of the 14,195 respondents in 12 countries surveyed for their report Reach out and touch the future: Accenture Connected Vehicle Services indicated it was essential (11 per cent) or important (50 per cent) for the vehicle to have the same operating system as the user's other devicesiv. Drivers surveyed wanted to control their smartphone from steering wheel controls (80 per cent), as well as be able to dictate emails and have responses read aloud to them (65 per cent). Bluetooth for hands-free calling was also on the wish listiii.

Smartphone integration and commonality across car and other device operating systems were not the only items on respondents' wish-lists in both the Accenture and the IHS surveys. An in-car touchscreen for entertainment, navigation and vehicle information was also important.

Survey respondents indicated a preference for a common operating system experience across devices, including the car.

In-car technology was not seen only as an information and entertainment solution in the surveys.

More than half the respondents to Accenture wanted driving support technologies like collision alarm systems, lane-change warning and blind-spot warning systems, night vision, continuous peripheral video recording to monitor road incidents, and a fatigue warning capability. Nearly half wanted autopilot and lane-keeping systemsiv. Passenger safety was also highly prized, including the option for passengers to stop the car if, for example, the driver suffered a heart attacki.

i Accenture 2014, Reach out and touch the future: Accenture Connected Vehicle Services, viewed 24 November 2016,, p8

ii IHS Inc. 2015, IHS Automotive Identifies Consumer Trends for Apps and Technology in New Vehicles, according to New Global Report, viewed 19 September 2015,

iii IHS Inc. 2015, Graphic: 'Still thinking about features in your next new car, could you please select up to four features you are interest in having in your next vehicle?', Business Wire, viewed 19 September 2015,

iv Accenture 2014, Reach out and touch the future: Accenture Connected Vehicle Services, viewed 24 November 2016,, p7