Non-Tesla Users Find Driver Assistance Too Babyish and Distracting

Tesla rolls out V10 update to its electric cars with a wide range of upgrades and enhancements. (Photo: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo)

Except for Tesla owners, drivers, in general, are said to be annoyed with driver assistance features of cars. For them, these are "nannying" features that are merely distracting and not even useful.

According to the J.D Power 2019 US Tech Experience Index Study, many car owners are none too happy about the driver assistance features being added to new vehicle models for the last few years. On the automakers' side, they are doing this as they feel that the industry is gearing towards self-driving technology, and this is their way to ease into the market. However, their plans could be backfiring.

Based on the responses to the study, which did not include Tesla's all-electric vehicle owners, drivers would rather turn these features off if their cars have these. The results show an interesting contrast between Tesla owners or whose cars are in complete Autopilot mode compared to owners of other manufacturers' cars. It could be that other manufacturers' approach to the same piece of technology working in favor of Tesla is wrong.

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

The findings of the study showed that features that should aid users with lane-keeping and centering are just perceived as annoying and then disabled. Why these findings on customer satisfaction/dissatisfaction are so crucial is because they can certainly affect future purchases from the same manufacturer.

According to the report, if satisfaction levels reach as high as 900, repurchases are likely. However, the opposite is true if satisfaction levels are low. Automakers are called to check in with these findings and make the necessary adjustments to provide better tech usage experience. Kolodge claimed that when consumers are still not sold on the idea of cars driving themselves and as early as now, refuse to trust the lane-keeping and centering systems of their cars, they are unlikely to embrace fully-automated vehicles. The responsibility lies with the manufacturers to convince these consumers that these features are great and worth using.

"It's essential that the industry recognizes 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," Kolodge added.

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