Capturing the semi-autonomous driving opportunity

10 February 2016 3 min. read
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Fully automated cars are still some ways off the road; however, the semi-automated cars are now a reality. A range of automated safety and assistant measures, such as blind-spot warning systems and lane-change assistance, make driving safer and more convenient. Getting consumers to adopt these semi-automated features has proven difficult for manufacturers. According to McKinsey & Company, lowering their cost, getting consumers to try them and highlighting their safety added value may see more of the features on consumers’ must have lists in a new car.

Automated cars have been getting considerable hype in recent years, especially once the tech titan Google began investing heavily in the technology, and several research reports predict that this market will grow to reach billions. Examples include BCG’s forecast of $42 billion by 2025 and the $40-$60 billion by 2030 prediction of Roland Berger. The actual introduction of self-driving cars is still a while away however, with a number of technical hurdles to be overcome. Semi-autonomous vehicles on the other hand are already on the road. These vehicles have a range of systems that provide safety and ease of use features to the vehicle. Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are able to eliminate some errors while assisting drivers in, for instance, blind-spot and lane-departure warning systems, automatic emergency braking, lane-change assistance, drowsiness alerts, and bird’s-eye displays.

According to a recent McKinsey & Company article, titled ‘Capturing the advanced driver-assistance systems opportunity’, the further development of the semi-autonomous technology has considerable potential for car manufacturers, yet many are failing to realise that potential.

Adoption and potential re-adoption rate of ADAS

According to the research, the level of adoption of ADAS remains relatively low in the firm’s survey of 5,500 car buyers. In China the minimum adoption rate stands at 8% with the maximum at 28%, however, the value – in terms of willingness to rebuy the feature – is high, at 91%. In Germany too, relatively few consumers of new cars have invested in the feature, ranging between 6% and 23%, however, willingness to reinvest in the feature remains high at 87%.

One of the major errors that manufacturers make with respect to the technology is that they are not carefully enough explaining the potential benefits. While 70% of consumers are aware of the existence of the technology, only 30% had tried the features – with half of those that tried it, adding it to their vehicle purchase. Another way of improving uptake, the research highlights, is reducing the cost of the technology. In four of the five countries surveyed, price was the top factor cited in the consideration of ADAS purchases. The technology also presents an inherent value proposition to many customers related to the improvement to vehicle safety that many of the features provide. Helping customers understand those benefits may see more of the features out the door.

Companies that are able to improve their sales of ADAS technology stand to make significant branding differentiation, according to the consulting firm. The report remarks that “Fully benefiting from ADAS technology will require a radical rethinking of current approaches, particularly toward communicating value to customers and ensuring that it is delivered in a manner consistent with local or consumer-segment preferences and overarching desires for data privacy and security.”