ATX Study Finds Interest in Auto Messages for Drivers

A study conducted by Synovate Motoresearch on behalf of ATX Group, a provider of connected vehicle services, shows that consumer demand for connected services is growing, especially in regards to particular information that includes vehicle maintenance reminders and traffic alerts. The study also showed that drivers are becoming more comfortable using interactive voice recognition (IVR).

The study was conducted by polling owners of various luxury and non-luxury cars. Some of the other major findings were:

  • 89 percent showed interest in receiving notification of recalls for their car;
  • 79 percent were interested in updates on fuel prices and gas station locations;
  • 58 percent wanted notification of AM/FM or satellite radio programming; and
  • 57 percent preferred to receive reminders from a dealership that maintenance is due.

 ATX also asserts that previous industry research shows that customers want real-time, location-specific alerts about traffic problems, weather conditions, detours, and construction. According to the study, car owners would choose an in-vehicle message over a direct mail reminder, voicemail, or text message.

"Drivers want information that's relative to operating their vehicle and that helps them drive more safely and efficiently," Tom Metzger, ATX senior vice president of sales and account management, said in a statement.

ATX already teams with select dealerships to send audio messages about ownership issues; it contends that customers find this method beneficial since the response rate has been almost 30 percent, with a low rate of customers opting out from future messages.

Furthermore, ATX states that customers are becoming more comfortable with IVR technology in the car; almost eight out of 10 were at least somewhat comfortable or very comfortable with these systems, but the luxury vehicle owners reported a higher satisfaction rate.

"In contrast to messages pushed to a mobile communications device, different principles must apply to developing in-vehicle messages to minimize driver distraction," said Tom Schalk, ATX vice president of voice technologies, in a statement. "You have to make the IVR interface simple to avoid driver frustration or confusion. There can be no extensive scrolling through menus. Messages must be short and required verbal inputs from the driver must be kept to a minimum."

Addressing the concern that in-vehicle messages could potentially be invasive, Schalk said that these notices could be transmitted using an auto alert or an illuminated signal. Messages could also be stored so the driver could retrieve them when not driving.

The survey also showed that more than one-third of car owners polled were interested in information on business specific locations, personal calendars, or errands.

Metzger hopes to allow drivers to pre-select how and when the messages will be received—before or during the drive, for example.

"Today's market reality is that consumers' lifestyles demand always-on communications. We believe we have developed a platform that enables drivers to receive messages they deem relevant to their vehicle ownership or drive, while minimizing distraction from the primary task of driving," he added.

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