J.D. Power Study Reveals Driver-Assistance Technology Seen As Annoying and Bothersome

J.D Power has published its findings of the 2019 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study, revealing that some drivers of vehicles with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) have found alerts “annoying or bothersome.”

J.D. Power’s study found that an average 23% of drivers, ranging from 8% for one domestic brand of car and more than 30% for a couple of import brands, have complained about ADAS alerts, including centering systems and lane-keeping, being annoying or bothersome. Out of these owners, roughly 61% occasionally disable alerts and a low 21% are not bothered by them at all.

The findings of the survey are particularly concerning as an increasing numbers of car manufacturers opt to incorporate advanced driving assistance systems into their vehicles, paving the way for more automated vehicles in the future.

Executive Director of Driver Interaction & Human Machine Interface Research at J.D. Power, Kristin Kolodge explains, “Automakers are spending lots of money on advanced technology development, but the constant alerts can confuse and frustrate drivers. The technology can’t come across as a nagging parent; no one wants to be constantly told they aren’t driving correctly.”

Kolodge goes on to say there are automakers who are getting it right and the contrast between brands is significant. “Some brands are succeeding at making their safety technology effective without being overbearing. Some are good at one aspect but weaker at another, and some are struggling with both. This is why one brand has 90% of its customers wanting lane-keeping/centering on their next vehicle, while another brand has just 59% of its customers saying the same thing.”

This is the fourth year J.D Power has released the U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study, which records an owner’s interaction, usage and overall experience of 38 driver-centric vehicle technologies at 90 days of ownership. The major technology categories analyzed in the study are entertainment and connectivity; collision protection; comfort and convenience; driving assistance; smartphone mirroring; and navigation. The study, which was based on responses from more than 16,400 owners and lessees revealed additional key findings including:

  • Apple and Google taking over? More than half (69%) of respondents say they have Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto in their vehicle. This is starting to jeopardize future sales of the automakers’ factory-installed navigation systems. More than two-thirds (68%) of owners with Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto want factory-installed navigation on their next vehicle, compared with 72% of those without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. This is a significant future profit loss for the automakers
  • Built-in apps not meeting users’ expectations: The attribute for “ease of using built-in apps” is the lowest-performing attribute in the entertainment and connectivity category (7.63 on a 10-point scale). Among the 29% of owners who have discontinued the use of built-in apps, 46% say they “do not need it” and 18% say they “have another device that performs the function better.” Apps on external devices are a competitive threat, so it’s imperative for automakers to ensure intuitiveness and ease of use.
  • High satisfaction drives recommendation and repurchase intent: Owner satisfaction with their vehicle technology experience strongly determines whether they will recommend or repurchase the brand. When overall satisfaction is greater than 900, 75% “definitely will” repurchase the same make again and 95% “definitely will” recommend it. Automakers looking to drive loyalty need to provide a highly satisfying tech usage experience.

The study, which works on a 1000-point system, found that the average score was 781 and the lowest scoring model achieved just 709. The best-performing vehicle was the Kia Stinger with a score of 834, while other top-performing models included the Hyundai Kona, Toyota CH-R, Kia Forte, Chevrolet Blazer, Ford Expedition and Porsche Cayenne

Kristin Kolodge clarifies why the study’s results don’t look good for car manufactures adding, “Consumers are still very concerned about cars being able to drive themselves, and they want more information about these complex systems, as well as more channels to learn how to use them or how and why they kick in. If they can’t be sold on lane-keeping—a core technology of self-driving—how are they going to accept fully automated vehicles? Dealers remain a partner in the process of helping translate to consumers what these technologies bring to the table, but consumers still need that element of trust that systems are going to kick in when they’re supposed to. It’s essential that the industry recognize the importance of an owner’s first experience with these lower-level automated technologies because this will help determine the future of adoption of fully automated vehicles.”