LYA conducted a survey with respect to connected cars in early 2016.

The survey was targeted towards the level of interest of US consumers in features they are looking for in connected cars. There comes a first distinction to be made: a connected car vs. an autonomous or self-driving car.

A connected car can be defined as a car which has any form of wireless connectivity. Perhaps the simplest and most intuitive example of this is Bluetooth connectivity to a mobile device, phone or tablet, to play music. A more complex example of this would be a connection in order to receive real time data data regarding oncoming weather or upcoming traffic. A self-driving or autonomous car refers to a vehicle which can drive itself without or with limited driver intervention.

We surveyed the level of interest for 4 functions that can be present in a connected car: Wi-Fi Hotspot, weather alerts, navigation with location services and an entertainment streaming system, for music or movies.

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Being the only function attracting over 50% of respondents’ interest, weather alerts directly to the vehicle seem to be an attractive feature. Weather alerts could warn drivers of, for example, a heavy winter storm before the driver actually reaches it, prompting the driver to wait for it to pass. This sort of warning could improve road safety and reduce traffic related accidents.

Connected cars also raise significant potential privacy issues. Some of these services will or may require that a vehicle  be tracked by a third party. Our survey included asking respondents their view as to which application they would consider allowing their car to be tracked by a third party.

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While tracking data for completely autonomous driving was the least popular  among the 5 applications above, respondents appeared to be willing to have their information used  for the purpose of obtaining information related to traffic and alternate route suggestions.

This response appears consistent with the previous result indicating that weather alerts represent the most interesting application for drivers.

534 respondents were surveyed online, with a 4.3% margin for error.