Recent research suggests a surge in connected car technology over the course of the decade, driven by the rapid roll-out of 5G networks adding more value because of additional applications. And now, research from vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology provider Commsignia has found that the more consumers know about connected car technologies, the better they find them and the more likely they are to use them.
The background to the study was the technology firm’s proposition that the digitisation of transport can make a significant contribution to mitigating negative impacts within the industry. It said connected vehicles can use V2X – whose unique features include the ability to see through objects and work in all weather conditions – to make road hazards more visible, resulting in fewer surprises for drivers. Moreover, automatic driver assistance systems (ADAS) use V2X in combination with other onboard sensors for a more reliable perception of the environment, with significantly improved computing power requirements.
The aim of Commsignia’s research was to measure current awareness and attitudes to V2X technology, understand attitudes towards common traffic issues and complications, and explore perceptions of the potential benefits of V2X technology. Commsignia surveyed 623 consumers about their expectations of V2X technology in a representative poll, asking which features they find especially useful and what kind of issues they usually face in traffic.
The study found that more than a million vehicles were equipped with V2X at the end of 2022, with vehicle manufacturers expected to roll out many more V2X-enabled cars during 2023. Looking ahead to the end of the decade, Commsignia noted that V2X penetration is estimated to reach over 100 million vehicles.
Even though European car manufacturers are now leading the way in V2X, the technology is being actively pursued around the world and the direction of V2X deployment depends on many local factors. In the North American region, the digitisation of transport infrastructure has started the spread of V2X, with a focus on self-driving fleets, road maintenance services, public transport and freight.
As many as 97% of respondents would expect to have real-time warnings on road hazards such as black ice and objects on the road, and 74% found it very useful to give priority to first responders. Some 90% supported technologies that could reduce pollution and help the environment.
Another top-line finding was that the vast majority would like to see V2X and its benefits become more widespread. Users indicated that a better understanding of V2X has a positive impact on the view of the technology. Urban respondents who are more educated, aged 20-60, have children and have a smart device in the home were most likely to favour V2X. More than half of respondents want V2X tech in their next car, with attributes that promote vehicle and driver safety viewed as more useful than attributes that promote the safety of other road users.
Initially, less than half had a very positive view (20.87%) or somewhat positive (22.95%) opinion about V2X technology (43.82% overall). In an informed ballot at the end of the survey, however, this figure rose to 70.78% overall, of which 29.87% were very positive and 40.91% were somewhat positive. More educated urban respondents aged 30-60 with children and a smart device in the home are most likely to have a positive view of the technology.
Although respondents have a high level of confidence in their own driving abilities, they were also found to be concerned about road safety. Among the capabilities of V2X, respondents saw the most useful one as helping to avoid unexpected hazards. With V2X, connected cars can directly share crucial data, allowing cars to display real-time warnings on the dashboard, while the information is automatically uploaded to the cloud so onboard navigation systems and apps can also display warnings later on.
The proportion of respondents who think “real-time information on temporary dangerous road conditions” would be “very useful” increases with age, with older adults needing the support of technology to prepare for and help them respond to unexpected events. Most people agreed that technology should be used to reduce pollution and environmental impacts, and solutions to optimise traffic flow were more favoured for public transport than for car use.
The study also provided evidence that officials at state and local transportation agencies could build on public opinion to use V2X technology to support public services. People overwhelmingly liked the idea that “first responders and ambulances can use V2X technology to respond to emergencies and transport patients more quickly to hospitals to receive life-saving care”. It was the second most highly rated attribute, with an outstandingly high number of people considering it “very useful”.
That said, less than half of respondents said they “would support the use of tax dollars to fund the deployment of V2X infrastructure, such as stop lights that can communicate with vehicles”.