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One in three households want connected car features

Research shows that in the US, smartphone features are driving interest in connected car features -- particularly music and navigation.

autos Updated: Nov 26, 2013 13:42 IST

Research shows that in the US, smartphone features are driving interest in connected car features -- particularly music and navigation.

According to Parks Associates, 33 percent of US broadband households want the ability to listen to their music libraries in their cars, and there is also a growing demand for navigation, vehicle performance and diagnostics features and, of course, hands-free phone access. However, only 16 percent are interested in in-car online video access, even for their passengers.

"One-third of car owners, and over 50% of luxury car owners, now have connected-car capabilities, and most of them use the features on at least a monthly basis," said Jennifer Kent, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates. "The ability to play MP3 files on the car stereo is most common by far, but communication features such as the ability to listen to texts/email read aloud are becoming more popular. Twenty percent of U.S. vehicle owners in broadband households have this feature."

As well as turning their noses up at video, half of driving households surveyed aren't interested in website access or the ability to access news apps.

"The rapid growth in smartphone adoption combined with the development of a robust app industry has educated consumers on the benefits and possibilities of in-car connectivity," Kent said. "Smartphone owners are far more likely to value connected car capabilities, and roughly three-quarters of those valuing connected car capabilities have smartphones."

According to ABI Research, by 2018, 50 percent of all new cars will feature Apple's connected car technology -- iOS in the Car, which enables a driver to mirror his or her iPhone and many of its apps on a vehicle's dashboard screen for a combination of touchscreen and voice-activated access to everything from music libraries to turn-by-turn navigation, search queries and message dictation. The first car ever to feature the technology, the 2014 Honda Civic, will go on sale in the US this December.

Earlier this month, German carmaker, Audi announced that its new A3 sedan, which goes on sale in the US this spring, will be the first car ever to offer an integrated 4G LTE high-speed internet hotspot which will enable passengers to stream HD video to their phones, tablets or notebooks while providing the driver with more detailed, faster and more graphics-rich navigation information.

Although initially aimed at improving in-car entertainment and information, Audi hopes that in the future, the internet connection will enable cars to communicate with each other and with road infrastructure to avoid accidents and congestion.