Drivers not keen on autonomous yet – but something that helps us park? Now you’re talking
Regular readers of this publication will note the prevailing wind in terms of driver preference for driverless cars; for both US and UK motorists, it’s a pretty firm no right now. But semi-autonomous features, such as improved parking capability and being able to avoid collisions is proving particularly popular, according to figures released by Ford.
According to the carmaker, one in three Ford cars sold in the past year were equipped with parking systems that help drivers find and steer into parking spaces. In Switzerland, this number rises to almost three in four cars.
More than three quarters of drivers buy cars with voice control systems, according to the numbers, while more than half of all Fords in Europe were fitted with cruise control systems.
Ford has a variety of technologies aimed at ensuring the driving experience becomes at least semi-autonomous. These include Active Park Assist, which uses sensors and the vehicle’s steering system to improve parking, Active City Stop, which automatically applies the brakes if a driver does not react in time, and Lane Keeping Aid, which applies steering torque if the driver unintentionally veers off.
These figures are in contrast with a report released earlier this week which argues connected car features are not being used by many car owners. The J.D. Power 2014 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience Report found 20% of new vehicle owners have never used approximately half of the new technology features in their cars, while about a third have never used mobile routers (38%), automatic parking systems (35%), head-up display (33%), or built-in apps (32%).
Back in July, a survey conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) found 43% of participants wanted no self-driving, 40% preferred partially autonomous vehicles and only 15% wanted completely self-driving. These numbers were backed up by a UK study which showed two in five (39%) admit they were ‘not bothered’ about the development of self-driving cars.
Brandon Schoettle, the UMTRI report author, told Connected CarTech at the time he was “a little bit surprised” at the report’s findings, but added he expected the numbers to move towards self-driving cars in future years.