Global research shows drivers want improved safety and efficiency, not self-driving cars

element14’s Engineering a Connected Automotive World study reveals the technology advancements that consumers really want from their vehicles

Improving efficiency and passenger safety should be the top areas addressed by engineering and technology developments in the automotive sector, according to global consumer research from element14. In contrast, areas that are seeing significant funding and development, such as sensors, self-driving cars and electric vehicles, have considerably less consumer appeal.

The global study, published in a new Engineering a Connected Automotive World report, was carried out in Australia, China, France, Germany, India, the UK and North America. It shows that 56% of consumers feel technology in the automotive sector should be primarily focussed on efficiency and 53% said safety respectively. Only 7% agree the focus should be on driverless cars and 8% on sensors, for example for judging distances.

The results are more positive when looking at overall enthusiasm for driverless cars, with 44% of survey respondents saying they are of interest, more than virtual reality (41%) or gesture control (43%). Notably, this percentage rises dramatically in India and China, with 71% and 67% respectively confirming their interest in driverless vehicles.



David Shen, Group CTO, Premier Farnell, commented: “It’s no surprise that consumers want efficiency and safety to be the focus areas for engineering and technology developments. With the cost of carbon-based fuels, not to mention their detrimental environmental effect, and the huge volume of automotive-related fatalities every year, these should be the main concerns.

“However, as engineers we know that technology has a fundamental role to play in realising these end goals. Driverless cars will doubtless be safer, and electric powered vehicles far more efficient. The findings of our research serve to highlight how we should be packaging these new technologies to the consumer – focussing on the ultimate benefits, rather than the technology itself.”
David Shen, Group CTO

For more information on “Engineering a Connected World” or to view the research report, visit element14.com.


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Farnell Global is a fast and reliable distributor of products and technology for electronic and industrial system design, maintenance and repair.  From research and design through prototype to production, Farnell helps its customers access the products and services they need 24/7.  With more than 80 years of experience, 47 localised websites, and a dedicated team of over 3,500 employees, Farnell provides every component its customers need to build the technology of tomorrow.

Farnell Global trades as Farnell in Europe, Newark in North America, and element14 in Asia Pacific.  It also sells direct to consumers through its CPC business in the UK.

Farnell Global has been part of the established global technology distributor, Avnet (Nasdaq: AVT), since 2016. Today, this relationship allows the company to support its customers at every stage of the product life cycle, offering a truly unique distribution model, as well as expertise in end-to-end delivery and product design.

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