The rise of so-called ‘infotainment systems’ in new automobiles has caused many to wonder if technology could be making cars less safe than they used to be. A survey of potential car buyers has revealed that safety technology is actually quite popular among consumers while devices such as built-in navigation systems are not. Drivers want safer cars, though they did express some reservations about what they were willing to pay for them.
Among the technological advancements discussed in the survey were blind spot detectors, collision avoidance systems and night vision. Those were the top three technologies that appealed to those surveyed. When asked how much they were willing to pay for technological advancements, the responses varied from a high of $3,703 for buyers under 38 years of age to $2,067 for drivers over 70. When cost is factored in, the potential benefits of the safety systems is muted. Safety devices like the ones considered here are often sold as packages costing $4,000 or more.
If a device or option is highly popular, its cost often comes down. What starts as a high-priced novelty may eventually become a relatively affordable expectation. Air bags are one example of a safety technology that made such a transition. Of course, if the government makes the technology mandatory to achieve a certain safety rating, auto companies quickly find a way to make it cost effective.
Eliminating car accidents is a worthy goal. American consumers are aware that technology plays an important role in keeping us safe behind the wheel. Hopefully car companies will take our desires seriously and focus on solving the safety concerns that lead to accidents.
Source: New Jersey Herald, “Drivers want new safety technology, but it will cost them,” by Dee-Ann Durbin, 22 April 2015