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Technology Newsmaker Q&A Cameron Conaway, Solace

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 - 07:00
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Earlier this year, cloud communication company Solace released a study on self-driving cars that found more than half of drivers would not buy an autonomous vehicle, regardless of cost. Aftermarket Business World spoke to Solace’s director of marketing communications, Cameron Conaway, about the findings. 

Do you think there is messaging that would help assure drivers that connected cars are safe? As the technology evolves, how can OEMs convince people to buy into features like automatic braking and other ADAS features that can help improve safety?

A big part of building consumer trust, therefore, will be in developing reliable technology. Even with today’s connected cars, drivers can quickly become frustrated when their Bluetooth doesn’t automatically connect, or their unlock feature doesn’t register the key in their pocket. 

There is an indication that self-driving cars may first emerge in ride sharing/vehicle sharing applications. Could this have any impact on ultimate consumer acceptance?

Absolutely. Head to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and you’ll see the role autonomous technologies are playing in developing consumer trust for self-driving cars. Uber’s autonomous cars all over the roads, with a driver at the wheel just in case. 

I was surprised at the level of distrust of autonomous vehicles among millennials. 

While millennials are often thought of as the group that’s most likely to adopt new technologies, our data paints a very different picture. With nearly half of young millennials (which we considered to be between 18 to 25-years-old) saying they wouldn’t trust their car to automatically react to driving conditions, this age group, according to our survey, is more hesitant to hand over the driving experience to technology.

I was also surprised that drivers don’t know about the potential storage or use of their personal data. Could this issue potentially affect acceptance of connected or self-driving vehicles in the future?

This surprised me as well. And it’s definitely one issue I believe could slow down acceptance.

Another critical factor here is transparency. There’s no doubt that we’ll soon start to see advertisements based on data collected from our connected cars. The keepers of this information (i.e., the car companies themselves) need to make it a point to be as transparent as possible in establishing consent to collect and then communicating how the collected data was and will be used.

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