Keeping Both Hands on the Wheel

Drivers show growing interest in voice-activated technologies for their vehicles

Jun 15, 2010, 05:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- American drivers(1) are growing more likely to adopt voice activated technologies to use in their vehicles, according to Harris Interactive's 2010 AutoTECHCAST study, conducted between April 6, 2010April 26, 2010. Thirty-five percent of drivers say they would be likely to adopt voice activated controls or features in their vehicle, up from just over one-quarter (27%) in 2009. Additionally, a handful of drivers showed interest in Text to Speech and Speech to Text (TS-ST) technology, with 14% indicating they would be likely to adopt it.

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This is continuing coverage from the Harris Interactive 2010 AutoTECHCAST study, an annual survey of adult vehicle owners in the United States that studies 69 advanced automotive technologies spanning across several categories that include: Entertainment, Exterior Comfort & Convenience, Glass, Intelligent Sensing, Interior Comfort & Convenience, Lighting, Powertrain & Alternative Fuels, Ride & Handling, Safety, and Telematics.

Voice Activated Controls

Voice activated controls and features allow vehicle occupants to use voice commands to control a variety of vehicle systems and features such as their cell phone, audio system, navigation system, climate control, and other electronic systems. Once a command is programmed, the user simply speaks the command to execute the specific function. A benefit of this technology is that it limits the amount of driving distractions in the vehicle and, consequently, can aid in the prevention of accidents. However, over half of drivers (52%) cite this technology as a comfort and convenience technology, compared to one in four (28%) who see it as a safety technology. Fewer see it as a form of entertainment (13%).

Not surprisingly, as the price of voice activated controls and features decreases, more drivers indicate their likelihood to adopt. Back in 2006 when these technologies were more expensive and the price point was set at $750 in the study, a mere 3% indicated they would be likely to adopt this feature. Comparatively, 35% of drivers said they would be likely to adopt these controls and features in this year's study when the price was set at $150.

Text to Speech or Speech to Text (TS-ST)

Other hands-free innovations include Text to Speech or Speech to Text (TS-ST) technologies that enable occupants to respond to text messages and emails while driving. For example, an incoming text is "read aloud" to the driver, then he or she can either speak a reply or select a pre-set reply which is then converted to text. This system allows the driver to increase productivity while minimizing driver distraction, maintaining driver safety. Approximately one in seven drivers (14%) said they would be likely to adopt this technology after a $200 price point was given.

David Pulaski, Vice President of Harris Interactive Automotive and Transportation Research states "In today's fast-paced world, drivers will continue to multi-task and need a way to do it safely while driving.  Automakers need to move more aggressively to bring these technologies to market.  Automakers who embrace these technological advances are likely to gain incremental sales and may see gains in the way consumers view their brand."

Similar to voice activated technologies, drivers are divided as to the main purpose this technology would serve; approximately three in ten say see TS-ST as a comfort/convenience (32%) or a safety technology (30%), while one-quarter (25%) see it as entertainment.

David Duganne, Sr. Research Director of Harris Interactive Automotive and Transportation Research states "Marketers need to be aware of these diverse perceptions as they develop these technologies and bring them to market."  

Early Adopters Lead Consideration

The study also finds there is increasing consideration for adopting voice activated technologies among those who already own other technologies such as a portable navigation system (49% who own would consider adopting voice activated technology vs. 39% who do not own), Bluetooth (47% vs. 32%), an iPod (45% vs. 30%), an MP3 player (38% vs. 25%), and all types of smartphones, including an iPhone (14% vs. 7%).  

Considerers of TS-ST technologies are likely to already be connected to other technologies, as well, based on their responses before being given the market price:  considerers are more likely to own a portable navigation system (52% vs. 43%), Bluetooth (50% vs. 34%), and an iPod (55% vs. 37%).

TABLE 1

LIKELIHOOD TO PURCHASE ALTERNATIVE FUEL TECHNOLOGIES

"How likely would you be to purchase this technology if it added [INSERT PRICE] to the total cost of your vehicle?"


Base: Adults who evaluated each technology


Voice Activated Controls and Features

Text to Speech and Speech to Text

Price

$150

$200

Base

989

1017


%

%

TOP 2 BOX (NET)

35

14

Extremely Likely

18

6

Very Likely

17

8

Likely

18

10

BOTTOM 2 Box (NET)

47

76

Somewhat Likely

23

24

Not At All Likely

24

52

(Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding).




TABLE 2

CATEGORY OF VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY

"In which of the following categories would you consider this technology/feature to belong? Please select only one."


Base: Adults who evaluated each technology


Voice Activated Controls and Features

Text to Speech and Speech to Text

Base

989

1017


%

%

Comfort/Convenience

52

32

Safety

28

30

Entertainment

13

25

Performance

3

1

Styling

1

1

Environment/Efficiency

1

2

Other

2

9

(Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding).




TABLE 3

TECHNOLOGIES / DEVICES OWNED

" Which of the following technologies/devices do you currently own? Please select all that apply."


Base: Adults who evaluated each technology


Voice Activated Controls and Features: Consideration before exposure to market price

Text to Speech and Speech to Text: Consideration before exposure to market price


Extremely Likely/ Very Likely/ Likely

Somewhat Likely/ Not At All Likely

Extremely Likely/ Very Likely/ Likely

Somewhat Likely/ Not At All Likely

Base

367

622

154

863


%

%

%

%

iPhone

16

5

16

9

Blackberry

18

11

25

10

Smart Phone

26

8

32

15

iPod

45

30

55

37

MP3 Player

38

25

35

30

Bluetooth Connectivity

47

32

50

34

Portable Navigation System

49

39

52

43

Mac Computer

14

7

15

12

PC Computer

86

78

73

83

Smartbook

4

1

4

1

Kindle or other eReader

10

4

9

5

iPad

4

1

2

1

None of these

3

7

4

3



Methodology

The AutoTECHCAST study was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive between April 6, 2010April 26, 2010 among 12,225 U.S. adults ages 18 and over and who own or lease a vehicle, have a valid driver's license, have at least one household vehicle, own a vehicle model year2005 or newer, and are at least 50 percent involved in the decision to buy their next household vehicle. Results were weighted as needed for age, gender, education, region and income and to properly represent U.S. vehicle segment owners. Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.  

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris Interactive specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

(1) U.S. adults ages 18 and over and who own or lease a vehicle, have a valid driver's license, have at least one household vehicle, own a vehicle model year 2005 or newer, and are at least 50 percent involved in the decision to buy their next household vehicle

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SOURCE Harris Interactive



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