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UMTRI survey finds users concerns about security and privacy with connected vehicles

14 April 2014

A majority of Americans, Australians and Britons believe that connected-vehicle technology will make driving safer, but most are also concerned about security and privacy, according to a recent survey by researchers Brandon Schoettle and Dr. Michael Sivak of the U-M Transportation Research Institute.

The poll found that about 30% of nearly 1,600 online respondents in the US, Australia and the US are “very concerned” about system and vehicle security breaches from hackers and about data privacy in tracking speed and location. Another 37% are “moderately concerned” about these issues and nearly a quarter are “slightly concerned.”

In addition to security and privacy fears, a majority of those surveyed expressed concern about system failure and performance, especially during bad weather, and that drivers will rely too much on the technology or will be distracted by it.

Despite concerns, about three-fourths of respondents believe that connected vehicles will reduce the number and severity of crashes, improve emergency response times and result in better fuel economy. In addition, more than 60% expect less traffic congestion, shorter travel times and lower vehicle emissions.

Schoettle and Sivak also found that 62% of the survey participants have a positive opinion about connected vehicles, while about a third are neutral. Only 27% of Americans, 22% of Australians and 17% of Britons have ever heard of connected-vehicle technology, they said.

Americans tend to have a lower overall opinion of connected vehicles (57% positive, 7% negative) compared to Britons (67% positive, 4% negative) and Australians (63% positive, 5% negative). They are also more likely to be concerned about system and vehicle security and data privacy.

Among other findings:

  • More than 80% of respondents in all three countries indicate safety as the most important aspect of connected-vehicle technology, compared to mobility and environment.

  • Roughly 80% say that integrating personal communication devices with vehicle technology is at least somewhat important.

  • More than three-fourths believe that Internet connectivity in connected vehicles is important.

  • About 86% are interested in having connected-vehicle technology.

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