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AppleCar Play and Android Auto Now ‘Must Haves’ Says Study

According to J.D. Power’s 2018 Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study, smartphone mirroring technologies such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have become “must have” in-vehicle features for many consumers.

Statistics show that both these technologies are showing rapid year-over-year penetration increases among vehicle shoppers. By contrast, many technologies that have been around much longer, such as in-vehicle navigation systems are not nearly as sought-after by new-vehicle owners.

“The rapid adoption of smartphone mirroring is the unavoidable outcome of consumers thinking that automakers are being outperformed by smartphone software providers in certain areas,” said Kristin Kolodge, Executive Director of Driver Interaction & HMI Research at J.D. Power.

“Most consumers consider phone systems better for navigation and voice recognition—and they’re free. ‘Better and free’ are hard to compete with, so automakers will inevitably have to cede this territory and will be much better served by focusing on areas where they are the exclusive provider—like driver assistance and collision avoidance—and continue to hone those systems.”

According to J.D. Power’s data, factory-installed navigation systems are among the least popular and most easily replaced by another device. In fact, data points to only 19% of new-vehicle owners using factory installed navigation systems and of that 19 percent, approximately two thirds still use another device instead—in particular a smartphone.

Based on J.D. Power’s data analysis, drivers using Apple CarPlay say they report significantly higher satisfaction with the system than those using Android Auto (777 vs. 748, respectively, on a 1,000-point scale).

When it comes navigation however, Google ranked higher among surveyed participants with 56 percent reporting that they use Google Maps most often and 16 percent use Google-owned Waze most often, while only 23 percent use Apple Maps most often.

An interesting observation was that iPhone owners are more likely to use Google Maps than Apple Maps, whereas very few Android owners use Apple Maps.

The study also found that wide differences exist between automakers in terms of how frequently owners use some of their systems. For instance, the number of owners who say they use their lane-keeping/centering system “every time they drive” ranged from 46 percent to 67 percent across different automakers.

For adaptive cruise control, use frequency ranged from 16 percent to 42 percent and for voice recognition,10 to 29 percent, depending on the vehicle. The study concluded that automakers which create systems that aren’t being used are making investments in technology that are unlikely to be successful.

“Today’s experience with a technology drives tomorrow’s desire,” said Kolodge. “Consumers are challenging the level of usefulness that some automotive technology provides, including whether it’s needed at all. For example, although automakers’ built-in navigation systems are appreciated for image quality, owners often prefer using smartphone-based navigation because they consider it more accurate.”

Interestingly, the study noted that overall satisfaction with new-vehicle technology among owners of luxury vehicles averaged 766 out of 1000 while satisfaction among owners of mass market vehicles was 765. These figures represent a 16-point and 15-point improvement, respectively, from 2017.

The study, now in its third year, measures owners’ experiences, usage and interaction with 38 driver-centric vehicle technologies at 90 days of ownership. The study is designed to provide clarity for auto manufacturers, insurance carriers, telecommunications companies and consumer electronics companies—particularly for ways to minimize the gap between driver experience and execution.

The major technology categories analyzed in the study are entertainment and connectivity; comfort and convenience; driving assistance; collision protection; navigation; and smartphone mirroring.

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