Improving efficiency and passenger safety should be the top areas addressed by engineering and technology developments in the automotive sector, according to global consumer research from element14. In contrast, areas that are seeing significant funding and development, such as sensors, self-driving cars and electric vehicles, have considerably less consumer appeal.
The global study, published in a Engineering a Connected Automotive World report, was carried out in Australia, China, France, Germany, India, the UK and North America. It shows that 56% of consumers feel technology in the automotive sector should be primarily focused on efficiency and 53% said safety respectively. Only 7% agree the focus should be on driverless cars and 8% on sensors, for example for judging distances.
The results are more positive when looking at overall enthusiasm for driverless cars, with 44% of survey respondents saying they are of interest, more than virtual reality (41%) or gesture control (43%). Notably, this percentage rises dramatically in India and China, with 71% and 67% respectively confirming their interest in driverless vehicles.
David Shen, Group CTO, Premier Farnell, commented: “It’s no surprise that consumers want efficiency and safety to be the focus areas for engineering and technology developments. With the cost of carbon-based fuels, not to mention their detrimental environmental effect and the huge volume of automotive-related fatalities every year, these should be the main concerns.
"However, as engineers we know that technology has a fundamental role to play in realising these end goals. Driverless cars will doubtless be safer, and electric powered vehicles far more efficient. The findings of our research serve to highlight how we should be packaging these new technologies to the consumer – focusing on the ultimate benefits, rather than the technology itself.”