Most drivers believe connected-car tech will improve safety, survey says

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More than 80 percent of consumers in the United States, Australia and Britain believe connected-vehicle technology will make driving safer, a new survey by the University of Michigan finds.

The survey, conducted online by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, asked 1,596 consumers about their familiarity with connected-vehicle technology, as well as perceived benefits and concerns using the technology while driving.

Although the vast majority of respondents said they weren’t familiar with the technology, about three-fourths of them said they believe connected vehicles will reduce the number and severity of crashes, improve emergency response times and result in better fuel economy.

However, the study also found that the majority of the participants were concerned about security and privacy. Thirty percent said they were “very concerned” about the security and data privacy aspects of the technology, while another 37 percent were “moderately concerned.”

But security fears were not the only factor. Ninety-three percent said they were at least “slightly concerned” about the consequence of equipment or system failure, especially during bad weather. In addition, more than 60 percent expect less traffic congestion, shorter travel times and lower vehicle emissions.

The survey was conducted from January to March 2014 and has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points, said Bernie DeGroat, associate news director at the university.

The study found that U.S. respondents had a lower opinion of connected-vehicle technology (57 percent positive, 7 percent negative) compared with Britons (67 percent positive, 4 percent negative) and Australians (63 percent positive, 5 percent negative).

While only 27 percent of Americans polled said they had heard of connected-vehicle technology, even lower percentages of people surveyed in the two other countries had heard of it. Only 22 percent of Australians and 17 percent of Britons said they had knowledge of connected-vehicle technology before the study.

You can reach Andrew Thurlow at athurlow@crain.com.


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