Automakers are continuously adjusting their technology features in new models to cater to the tech-driven demands of today’s consumers, with two main consumer trends that are top of mind – safety and autonomous driving. In a new JD Power Survey, three of the top five technologies consumers most prefer in their next vehicle are related to vehicle protection. The findings also show the growing customer acceptance of autonomous driving, meaning auto manufacturers are constantly tested on their ability to deliver top-rated safety features in connected and automated vehicles.

The 2014 survey also found 24% of its respondents said they are more interested in autonomous driving, an increase from 2013, and it is expected this interest won’t drop any time soon, since today’s first-time car buyers come from the digital generation where digital integration and connectivity are  expected. In fact, an Accenture study found new technologies, including navigation and driver assistance systems, are top rated by consumers who want to learn more about the future of these technologies from car manufacturers and dealers.

While consumers navigate through autonomous driving innovations and how they can benefit from them, HARMAN is continuously working with automakers to help meet top driver concerns, with safety and connectivity at the top of the list. Understanding the pain points of surface-level concerns like blind spot detection, HARMAN developed a number of solutions to address the major concerns consumers have when considering how they might integrate autonomous vehicles into their lives. There are three chief technologies HARMAN developed to tackle safety on the road:

  • Sophisticated Over-the-Air (OTA) software updating solutions: With the recent acquisition of Redbend, our OTA software updating solutions are more advanced than ever, future-proofing cars to make them smarter and safer. With this technology, every piece of software in a car – from bumper-to-bumper – is updated reliably, securely and in real time. To further strengthen our commitment to this effort, we recently released a new OTA map update technology for navigation solutions based on the Navigation Data Standard, an industry first.

  • Hypervisor technology: Our hypervisor technology separates and isolates the different software domains within the infotainment system, creating a virtual barrier to protect the entertainment features from the critical car functions and staying one step ahead of the security game against hackers.

  • Integrated Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) software: Industry organizations such as the NHTSA require ADAS features to be implemented into infotainment systems to achieve a five star safety rating, which HARMAN has long been doing within the infotainment space. HARMAN’s ADAS software is integrated with infotainment systems to offer camera-based assistance apps that translate back to the infotainment platform, dropping the costs and complexities of computing resources in the safety realm of connected vehicles.

It goes without saying consumer expectations are shifting with today’s drivers on the road. Across all driver demographics, safety technology is a top concern, so it is critical we stay ahead of the curve as autonomous driving makes headway into the consumer market.