Drivers find lots of car tech ‘useless’

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Drivers find lots of car tech ‘useless’

Many of the cutting-edge tech-related features in new cars, which automakers boast of having spent billions of dollars developing, are not being used, a poll by U.S. market researcher J.D. Power showed.

According to a survey of 4,200 buyers and lessees of both premium and non-premium vehicles after 90 days of ownership in the United States, 20 percent of them answered they have “never used” 16 out of 33 new IT features in their vehicles.

Forty-three percent of the respondents said they never pressed the “in-vehicle concierge” button, which has been designed to help drivers do Internet shopping on a touch screen.

Some other functions considered “useless” by respondents include mobile routers for wireless Internet connectivity, cited by 38 percent, automatic parking systems (35 percent), head-up display, a transparent display that presents data in a way that doesn’t require drivers to look away from the road (33 percent) and built-in apps (32 percent).

Twenty-three percent of the respondents in their 20s and 30s said they “do not want” infotainment systems such as Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto on their new vehicles, which goes against conventional expectations that the younger generations would.

“By better understanding what consumers are looking for, what their expectations are and what their ideal experience is, automakers can best decide how to meet those needs in the most efficient and cost-effective manner,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. auto quality at J.D. Power.

The result corresponds to a poll conducted by Nielson Korea in June. Its study of 14,000 Korean drivers showed 43 percent “feel uncomfortable because such car infotainment technologies like voice command or smartphone integration are either far from reality or overly advanced.”

“Many drivers want to use their own smartphones or tablets instead of the display on their vehicles,” the J.D. Power report said.

Automakers are pouring money into technologies consumers don’t want, it pointed out, adding the latest IT technologies for cars have contributed to distracting drivers and raised car repair expenses in case of accidents.

Consumers still like functions that enhance the driving experience and safety. They include car condition diagnosis, adaptive cruise control and blind spot alert and detection.

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