Connected cars, self-driving and new mobility sharing are very practical

pwcWhat will the car of tommorrow be like? A new survey shows drivers will want it to be safe, connected to smartphones and shared.

In this new report, “Driving the future: understanding the new automotive consumer,” PwC takes a closer look at four distinct aspects of cars of the future: in-car technology, autonomous vehicles, ride sharing and car sharing, collectively referred to as automotive technology (auto tech).

The new U.S. survey, part of the PwC’s Consumer Intelligence Series (CIS), gauges sentiment from nearly 1,600 consumers via a survey, focus groups, social listening, and interviews with industry experts. Below are some key segment findings and themes:

  • Practical benefits override the “cool factor.”
  • Luxury and established car brands are more trusted than tech brands, though a pairing of the two seems to be customers’ ideal.
  • Mindset matters more than a customer’s age when adopting automotive technology. Auto tech is of more interest to Gen X (ages 35-49) and Gen Y, (ages 21-34) than to Gen Z (ages 16-20) – counter to adoption of other (less costly) technologies.

In-car technology – Consumers crave connectivity, safety and integration. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), automobiles are one of the most important aspects of life to “connect.”

  •  61% of consumers want their cars to be more integrated with their smartphones.
  • Which in-car technologies do consumers want most? 74% say comprehensive vehicle tracking, 68% want remote vehicle shutdown and 67% say driver override system.
  •  One aspect that consumers are reluctant to compromise on is privacy, with 60% of respondents unwilling to give up some privacy in exchange for getting access to the most high-tech features.

Autonomous vehicles – Also known as driverless cars, robotic cars and self-driving cars, this segment is garnering extreme amounts of intrigue among consumers.

  • A whopping 95% of consumers said they have heard of at least one of the aforementioned terms used to describe autonomous vehicles. In addition, 68% disagree with the assertion that autonomous cars will never succeed.
  •  One of the most popular reasons why respondents cited interest in autonomous vehicles is for the benefit of others who are not good drivers such as providing better transportation and safety for elderly drivers.
  • Safety was among the chief concerns cited by participants, with 54% saying autonomous cars are dangerous and another 28% citing susceptibility to hacking as another concern.

Ride sharing – Traditional taxi services are taking a backseat as tech paves the way in the next-era of ride sharing. Seventy-five percent of consumers say ride sharing is more affordable than taking a taxi, but taxis aren’t dead – 52% disagree that taxis are an outdated means of travel.

  • The segment is still growing, a minority of consumers (37%) say they have experienced ride sharing, but 55% of respondents say they are interested in trying it, suggesting that the service has considerable room for growth
  • More than half (53%) of consumers say they’re not open to having personalized advertising inside their ride share vehicles in exchange for financial incentives due to privacy concerns.
  • Millennials are the most prevalent demographic among ride sharing users at 60%, followed by urban consumers at 43% and suburban consumers at 33%. And the demographic that uses the services the least? Those ages 50 and older are at a mere 19%.


Car sharing – Car sharing pre-dates ride sharing and yet remains a developing market – popular in major cities and on college campuses but not yet widespread.

  •   Consumers are less familiar with car sharing at 70% compared to the 88% who are familiar with ride sharing, and only 23% have used a car sharing service.
  • Car sharing appears to be a millennial-driven trend, with 41% saying they have used it, compared to only 10% of those ages 50 and older.
  •  Despite the growing interest in the space, 73% would rather pay for their own car than use car sharing services.