Consumers Expect Full In-Car Connectivity

September 18, 2014 // By Junko Yoshida, EE Times
Drivers worldwide increasingly expect their cars to be “the next connected space,” a seamless extension to their already connected homes and offices, according to a global consumer study conducted by GfK, a market research firm based in Germany.

At a time when practically all automotive manufacturers are in a fierce race for new auto "infotainment" systems, it is critical to know drivers' perceptions of the user experience, and to measure their desire for new features in car infotainment systems.

GfK surveyed drivers in the United States, Japan, Germany, and Italy on their experience with the human-machine interfaces of auto infotainment systems. The study also looked at what features drivers would like in the future.


When asked to assess their current cars' infotainment systems, drivers in the United States appeared most satisfied. They gave higher scores than Japanese drivers, who turned out to be the toughest graders. On the scale of 1 (don’t agree at all) to 6 (completely agree), the average user experience score in the US for their infotainment systems was 4.6, compared to 3.8 in Japan.

The survey also probed consumers’ interest in new features of infotainment systems. Globally speaking, drivers were most interested in infotainment that works on many formats (e.g., iOS, Android, Windows 8). Ease of access (such as voice support) came in second. Color head-up display systems were next.

Drivers’ interest in having a tablet PC “as a full replacement of built-in infotainment” came in the fourth. Less popular, globally speaking, were gesture control and video conferencing.

While in the United States the top three feature requirements were similar to those in other countries, two features stood out as more desirable in the US compared to Germany and Japan: the ability to videoconference in-car and waterproof/spill-proof interior vehicle electronics.

In analyzing the survey results, Donna Miller, executive vice president for automotive at GfK, said in a statement:

Looking to the near future, it seems American drivers and passengers expect to be fully connected to the internet when on the move, managing video conferencing and multimedia. With so much of our time spent connected to the web from numerous devices, it's only a