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Drive Time Should Be More Productive Time, Finds New Consumer Technology Survey


STAMFORD, CT--November 3, 2011: Accustomed to technology making life simpler, consumers want to transform long drives into a more productive use of their time. Consumers want the personal technologies they own to seamlessly integrate and interface with their car, with 7 out of 10 saying they want voice controls to make phone calls, navigation tools and audio components easier to use.

“never know when you need to accomplish something for work.”

Furthermore, people want their vehicle's technology to have specific functions, with 83 percent saying they want a connected car's navigation system to deliver real-time traffic updates and 64 percent saying they want to access Internet music-streaming sites. These are some of the highlights from HARMAN's first-ever "Driving the Connected Consumer" survey, which found that today's connected consumer believes technology has brought society closer together, but when it comes to being in the car, staying connected and being productive does not yet match the connectivity available at home or work.

The "Driving the Connected Consumer" survey found that car commuters want their car to be a place where they can stay productive and informed and not be forced to break away from a busy day. While driving, consumers said they want to "waste less time," are "expected to be connected" and "never know when you need to accomplish something for work." And when asked about desirable car technologies, consumers said they want to "talk to type emails to clients," "send voice-activated text messages," "get instant weather and traffic updates by voice" and even have an "outlet for normal plugs."

Consumers are willing to pay extra for the voice controls that would make drive time more productive time, as 80 percent said they would pay a premium to manage navigation, music and other features by voice. Furthermore, voice controls are viewed as making driving safer by 70 percent of consumers, allowing them simpler access to navigation features, handle phone calls and control audio features. Only 30 percent believed that touch or in-dash controls were better than voice.

HARMAN and presenting media partner Slate highlighted the survey results during an "Interactive Town Hall" at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House on October 26. The event was streamed live on (archived at Slate Video ) and included panelists from consumer technology firms and the auto industry.

Other key findings from the "Driving the Connected Consumer" survey:

  • A safe environment: Safety is the top issue for drivers, with 98 percent of respondents saying it is the most important concern when it comes to driving. Features for entertainment, to help drivers get where they are going and to stay informed were the other top issues.
  • Work with me: Most consumers (68 percent) want their car to seamlessly integrate with the technology they already own -- such as a smartphone or mp3 player -- while 32 percent thought a car with its own set of features -- such a built-in phone -- would be better.
  • Who are you sharing the road with? When asked what worried them most about other drivers, texting while driving was the biggest concern among 97 percent of respondents. That was followed by drinking and driving (96 percent), drowsy driving (93 percent) and aggressive driving (93 percent).
  • Drive for me: Nearly all respondents believe fully automated driving is coming and will happen within:
  • The next year -- 4 percent
  • Two years -- 8 percent
  • Five years -- 27 percent
  • Ten years -- 29 percent
  • Twenty years -- 17 percent
  • More than 20 years -- 10 percent
  • Never -- 4 percent
  • Automated driver advantage: Being more productive in the car is the biggest advantage to automated driving, 28 percent of people said, allowing them to text message, send emails and eat. Twenty-five percent felt automated driving would be safer than driving themselves and 20 percent said it would make driving more enjoyable.
  • An intelligent driving machine: How consumers manage vehicle-based technology is very important as well; 72 percent of respondents said they want a centralized system to control all vehicle technologies while only 28 percent want separate controls for making phone calls, using a digital music player or satellite radio service.

"Drivers are saying they want technology to be intuitive and easy to manage," said Sachin Lawande, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer; Co-President, Lifestyle and Infotainment. "People already use technology in their cars, but the experience is not optimal because so many things -- from GPS to Bluetooth calls -- are still managed separately. This survey clearly tells us that vehicle technology needs to keep improving to make managing busy lives easier."

HARMAN is the world's leading auto supplier for consumer technology and a partner with 15 global automakers to integrate premium audio, information and connectivity systems into vehicles. HARMAN's audio and infotainment systems are in more than 25 million vehicles worldwide.

About the Survey

The HARMAN "Driving the Connected Consumer Survey" was conducted between Oct. 4 and Oct. 12 by Penn Schoen Berland. Online quantitative surveys were collected from 500 consumers. Of the 500 respondents, 1 in five currently has some form of Internet connection or voice controls in the car.

To qualify for the survey, respondents needed to meet the following criteria:

  • Over 18 years of age
  • Own and drive a car
  • Use a computer
  • Regularly use at least 5 of 19 technology products, such as a smartphone, HDTV or MP3 player
  • Keep up with technology news
  • Buy and be involved in household decision-making for technology products
  • Pass three attitudinal screeners regarding willingness to buy and use technology