People want vehicle technology that lets them be productive. In fact, their desire for connectivity and productivity technology is -- with safety -- a leading motivator of extra-cost features on new vehicles. That bodes well for autonomous driving technology, which might be the ultimate productivity tool, as it promises, ultimately, to control a vehicle while the driver -- heaven forbid -- texts.
Google this week pitched its autonomous-car technology at the yearly SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) World Congress in Detroit, saying that cars that drive themselves are in the horizon. The company has been testing Toyota Prius vehicles fit with Google technology that lets the vehicles drive autonomously, and is hoping that automakers pick up on the technology.
Just out from J.D. Power and Associates, the 2012 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study suggests that while safety is still -- as it has historically been -- a dominant theme in what consumers want in a vehicle, the desire for technology that lets people be connected and productive is growing. Said Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power, in a release: “While vehicle owners remain very interested in technologies that make their vehicle safer, they are turning their attention more and more toward features and technologies that allow them to be productive, connected and entertained while in their vehicles.”