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Digital radio still seen as the next big step for in-car technology

British drivers think hands-free driving will be the next big technological leap in motoring, research by Auto Trader and Digital Radio UK reveals.

The research looks at digital innovation in cars and reveals that UK motorists want technology to take some of the hassle out of driving. With 40% thinking self-park buttons are the next big thing and 35% believing voice commands are the future of motoring. However, despite the desire for hands-free driving, the top in-car innovation demanded by motorists is something that is already a part of life for some drivers – digital radio.

41% believe that DAB radios are the next leap forward for in-car technology, despite the fact that 15% of British drivers already have digital radios in their cars.

Nick King, Market Research Director at Auto Trader, says: “Digital technology has transformed the way consumers see the world over the past decade and motorists are no different. They have seen how voice recognition has changed phones and how apps have made previously complex things solvable at the press of a button. They now want motoring to be made as easy as possible by putting these features in cars. As we have seen in many other industries, the companies who respond and adapt best to changing consumer need will benefit most in the years to come.”

Although the Government has indicated the digital radio switch-over might take place in the next couple of years, misplaced concerns about the price of installing a digital radio may well be putting people off getting one installed. In-car digital radios can be picked up for around £70 and installation is available for as little as £30 but the motorists we surveyed believed on average it would cost them £202 – more than double the actual cost.

The concerns over price come at the same time as the vast majority (71%) of motorists believe having a DAB radio installed will add value to the price of their car. Nick King continues: “At the moment motorists have conflicting views on digital radio. Despite the fact it is already here they think it will be the next great innovation and despite believing it will be an investment and add value to their car, they hugely over-estimate the costs involved in getting one. When/if the date of the digital switch-over is confirmed more people will have DABs fitted to their cars as potential buyers will demand it.”

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