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What we want in tomorrow’s car: in-car internet, entertainment and active safety features

by GfK / AutoScout24 , 11.12.2014

GfK and AutoScout24 surveyed around 8,800 people for the report ‘The Cars We Want Tomorrow’. Drivers aged 18-65 in seven European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain), were surveyed on a wide range of topics from safety to cost, comfort to the environment, connectivity to design. Here we look at the functions drivers expect from tomorrow’s cars, from in-car internet to entertainment systems, to driver support systems.

The connected car

Almost half (49%) of Europeans want fast internet access in their vehicle, with the biggest appetite for a connected vehicle coming from 40-49 year olds (53%), higher than 18-29 year olds at 46%. The break out by country studied shows Spanish (66%) and Italian (61%) drivers leading the way, with German (39%) and Dutch (33%) drivers a little less enthusiastic about internet connected cars. Whether tomorrow’s car is wi-fi enabled or not, what is clear is that the car of the future is going to be increasingly intelligent and capable of taking over more tasks from drivers.

Safety and driver support functions come first

In the survey, driver support safety features such as early hazard recognition and active intervention by the car in dangerous situations are top rated, with 82% of Europeans agreeing that they are ‘particularly important’. The same number (82%), support the eCall function in their future vehicle, making emergency calls following an accident. Next, at 77% for Europe, is an intelligent traffic congestion avoidance system followed by relevant traffic information displayed on the windscreen (68%). At 77% Italians are most open to these technical innovations, compared to the Dutch who at 55% are less interested.

In-car entertainment systems: a higher priority for high earners and parents

Half of Europeans (50%) would like a comprehensive in-car entertainment system, making this of less importance than safety features. But this isn’t the case across the board: higher earners and parents expect the car of the future to come with a comprehensive entertainment system. Six in 10 (59%) of respondents with a net income of EUR 3,000 per month or above expect the car of the future to come with a comprehensive entertainment system. It is also the same figure for drivers with children 16 or under.

A modular approach to updating functions in the future

Whatever the function, the development cycles for on-board electronics are getting shorter. This means equipment that is state-of-the-art today will become obsolete far more quickly than at present. The research shows that despite this very few Europeans are prepared to switch cars more frequently to get the latest functions. Only two in 10 (19%) would consider changing their vehicle every two to three years.

One option will be to go modular. Twice as many people (40%) could be persuaded to swap individual components in their cars during the equipment's lifespan. Thomas Weiss, Editor-in-Chief of AutoScout24 Magazine, says: "Modular solutions will enable on-board electronics systems to be brought up to date without requiring the driver to replace the entire vehicle. This will become all the more important if standards for autonomous or semi-autonomous driving are enforced."

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There are five articles in this series covering safety, cost, budget, functions and mobility. Read the full study for free at:www.thecarswewanttomorrow.com

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