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electronica trend index: Smart cars should put thieves out of business

October 25, 2016

85 percent of Germans want automobiles of the future to recognize when they are being stolen and notify the police themselves. A smart car should also be able to find its own parking space (77 percent), service itself using remote diagnostics (73 percent) and warn other vehicles about hazards (71 percent). That is the result of the electronica Trend Index 2020 survey. A total of 7,000 consumers in seven countries around the world—including 1,000 representatives of the German population—were surveyed on behalf of the international trade fair electronica.

“Today, 80 percent of innovations in the automobile are being driven by microelectronics and software,” says Falk Senger, the Managing Director at Messe München who is responsible for the international trade fair electronica. “The number of new cars with online connectivity that roll off the assembly line in 2020 will be five times higher than it is today.” Networking vehicles digitally would make it possible for a car with sensors to recognize a theft attempt and, in the event of an emergency, alert the police itself. Security forces would then be informed of the car's exact location using positioning data so that they can catch the perpetrator.

A look at other countries reveals that consumers in each market have different priorities when it comes to smart automotive electronics. For example, digital anti-theft protection is extremely important to 76 percent of Italians—compared to 59 percent of consumers in Great Britain and only 45 percent in Japan.

When it comes to their wishes for smart automotive electronics, there are also interesting differences between age groups: In Germany, for example, having online entertainment available in the car while one is traveling is important to 63 percent of middle-aged consumers (ages 35 to 54). By comparison, those kinds of entertainment features had considerably fewer fans (43 percent) in the 55-plus age group. The situation is similar when asked about innovative drive technology: 71 percent in the middle-aged group (35 to 54) feel it is important for a smart car to have an electrical drive system. But the electric car was not as popular (56 percent) to those in the 55-plus generation.

“As the electronica Trend-Index indicates, future technology gets very positive marks around the world when it makes people's lives safer and easier,” says Falk Senger. “Although the results of the survey also revealed extremely individual consumer profiles in all seven countries.” For example, when it comes to safety, the environment and entertainment, consumers in the United States have completely different preferences than consumers in Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, China or Japan. A future topic such as car sharing illustrates the diverging views in each region. In China, consumers think that a smart car that reports its location to facilitate invoicing of customers who use car sharing is a good idea. 76 percent of Italians also welcome the idea, yet only about 50 percent of consumers in Germany, Great Britain and Japan. Falk Senger: “The international trade fair electronica from November 8–11 in Munich will give the international electronics industry a chance to exchange ideas and information about the future of connected worlds—and more than 2,800 exhibitors will present innovations.”