January 31, 2018
By Acy Min
Several years ago, on a hot summer day, I was dreading getting into my vehicle. Although the unbearable heat inside my vehicle only lasted for a short time as the air conditioner quickly did its job, I wished that my vehicle could sense the need for a cool environment and automatically turn on the air-conditioning system before I got in.
Finally, my dream is being realized. Many automakers are developing vehicles equipped with remote control systems that are enabling the “smart vehicle concept” to become reality.
Recently a Shanghai-based company called Next EV launched its newest vehicle, NIO ES8, boasting outstanding automated driving technology and internet connectivity. According to media reports, this vehicle can automatically close windows and turn on and adjust the air purifier system—all according to weather conditions.
A recent survey conducted by J.D. Power China explored the general consumer perception towards connected vehicles and indicates that most Chinese consumers display a strong interest for such vehicles. Survey results show that 91% of respondents would be interested in acquiring connected vehicles when considering their next purchase. In addition, more than half (51%) of Chinese consumers show a willingness to spend an extra 20% on purchasing a connected vehicle.
Is the Intelligent Connected Vehicle a Priority?
Survey results also show there are five advanced technologies related to connected vehicles that consumers see as essential: road safety monitoring (67%); remote control (62%); vehicle health monitoring (59%); voice interaction (55%); and interactive entertainment (27%).
Connected Vehicles’ Essential Advanced Technologies
In general, China consumers show strong enthusiasm about the future of connected vehicles. More than three-fourths (78%) of survey respondents are willing to allow artificial intelligence to take control of the driver’s functions, thus making them “feel safe.” They also perceive artificial intelligence applications to be well suited to being incorporated into their vehicles.
While it is widely anticipated that connected vehicles will increase fun and convenience levels, consumers do worry about some potential issues. According to the survey, 59% of consumers believe that along with new technology developments, people may rely too much on the vehicle’s capabilities instead of being actively involved in the driving. Additionally, 58% believe that intelligent and automated driving could lower people’s interest in higher vehicle performance. Furthermore, 28% of respondents are concerned about vehicles potentially being hacked. Interestingly, only 23% of respondents are worried about safety hazards due to driving distraction with entertainment or other apps.
Since China aims to be a leading digitally integrated country by 2035, information technology and the digital economy must evolve rapidly with applications throughout all industries. The automotive industry is a critical component of this development, utilizing the internet, big data and artificial intelligence. Vehicles possessing these digital innovations and bringing new driving and mobility experiences to the market are critical factors for automakers operating in China to consider in attracting customers.
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Acy Min is a marketing professional at J.D. Power Asia Pacific Operations. She lives and works in Shanghai and is looking forward to when her vehicle is interconnected and automated.
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