Smartphones, Car Connectivity: Consumers Want It

OnStar RemoteLink Mobile App.

Automotive companies saw the need for smartphone-to-car connectivity way before most of us mere car mortals even thought about it. After years of trial and error they’re getting it right. In-car connectivity has become more user-friendly, seamless to use, and yes, safer.
Yet, while some non-conformers may wonder why they need all the functionality these systems bring, a greater population is embracing it. According to recent statistics, car buyers are all for it.
“Smartphone ownership has increased to 70 percent in 2014, and consumers want the same connectivity in their vehicle as they are used to getting from their smartphone, computer, or tablet,” said Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates.
“Device/Application link enables the vehicle to replicate the display of a device on the vehicle’s screen while managing the device through the vehicle’s controls, which is why consumers want — and are willing to pay — to have that technology.”

2_ Uconnect Via Mobile
According to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study, consumers want technologies that allow them to access the entertainment, information, and connectivity they currently get from their smartphones.
The study measured vehicle owner interest and purchase intent regarding 61 up-and-coming automotive technologies both before and after the market price was given. Before being shown prices, the two technologies that consumers liked best were wireless connectivity systems (a communication link between electronic devices and the vehicle) and a device/application link (which allows viewing and controlling electronic devices and apps through the factory-installed equipment on the vehicle).

2014 Buick Regal
The key findings:
— Nearly one-fourth of owners expressed interest in paying to have autonomous driving mode ($3,000) in their next vehicle, up from 21 percent in 2013 and 20 percent in 2012. Continued consumer awareness with semi-autonomous features including fully autonomous parking systems, enhanced adaptive cruise control, and traffic jam assist are helping to increase trust in these technologies.
Stable gas prices, along with improvements in fuel economy in today’s vehicles, are keeping consumers from making major investments in fuel-saving technologies. Consumers view low-price fuel economy features (like refined aerodynamics) that provide nominal gas mileage improvements as good enough.
— Consumers are interested in convenience. They are drawn to features such as voice-activated personal assistant systems, wireless charging stations, and near-field communication that allows a smartphone to control vehicle functions such as unlocking the car or remote start and opening trunk/tailgate.
The lowest consumer interest is in hand gesture-controlled cockpit technology (both before and after the $1,000 market price was revealed). This type of technology uses sensors to detect hand motions to control a variety of functions in the vehicle. VanNieuwkuyk cites that limited consumer awareness combined with a high price is most likely the cause of low consumer interest.
The 2014 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study is based on responses from 15,171 vehicle owners. The study includes 61 features and technologies in 13 categories, ranging from collision protection to visibility enhancements.  — Holly Reich, Motor Matters

Manufacturer Photo: 1.) Remotely unlocking doors, activating horn and lights and remote start for factory-equipped vehicles are among services General Motors will make standard via smartphone for five years through the OnStar RemoteLink Mobile App. OnStar-equipped 2014 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models feature the service — even if the owner declines to pay for other OnStar services. It is the broadest deployment of remote services offered through a mobile app by any auto manufacturer.
2.) Chrysler Uconnect and Uconnect Access provide drivers with a variety of ways to quickly connect with, and easily control the information they want and need, while keeping them focused on the primary task of driving, including voice-to-text capability, to 3D navigation and a full-color 7-inch instrument cluster.
3.) 2014 Buick Regal Driver Information Center (DIC) menu screen.

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2014

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