The avalanche of gadgets and gismos in modern motors is leaving owners flummoxed

According a study carried out by the reborn British Motor Show (click here to read all about it), which returns this August, more than a third (35%) of car owners don’t understand the technological features in their cars, and hence don’t use them. And it’s not entirely their fault – over 70% reveal that the features were not properly explained by the salespeople that sold them the car (probably because they didn’t know either!).

Aiming to become the leading global event for automotive technology, the British Motor Show commissioned research that revealed 25% of car owners feel they were simply not given adequate information about all the clever stuff their new car is equipped with.

This could include Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) like traction and stability control systems, auto-braking, collision avoidance and lane keep assistance, as well as useful facilities like radar cruise control, autonomous parking systems and even how to get the best out of hybrid and electric drive systems. In-car technology has arguably seen the greatest advancements in the last decade, yet many drivers do not appear to be taking full advantage of it.

In fact 20% of drivers admitted they used less than half of the tech in their cars, and 10% confessed to understanding only a fraction of what the systems on their cars did, choosing to focus on merely driving it. That’s somewhat akin to buying a MacBook Pro and only ever typing emails on it.

The main takeaway of this study seems to be that a) in a rush to load up their cars with technology, manufacturers are not concentrating enough on UI – the user interface. It almost needs someone like an Apple to come in and simplify the usability and controls.

And b) perhaps there is just too much technology in cars now, and that may not always be beneficial. It could even prove detrimental if the owners and drivers do not know how to correctly use it – imagine someone using an ‘auto pilot’ style system on a motorway and not being fully aware of its limitations and when to take back control.

The British Motor Show CEO, Andy Entwistle, said: “We want The British Motor show to be a reflection of the British motor industry. We are a global leader in cutting edge technology. Pioneering tech will play a huge part at The British Motor Show 2020. We’ll have the innovators of the past, present and future all together in one location and provide show visitors with the opportunity to immerse themselves in all of the latest and greatest tech that the car industry has to offer.

A useful aspect of the show is that it will “give those who feel less confident with the technology or who simply don’t understand it, the chance to find out more without the pressure of a hard sales environment.”

Even I might be lining up for that!

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