Only 20% of Australians feel comfortable with the cybersecurity and privacy aspects of connected cars, with this discomfort accelerating with age.
This is according to new research from HERE Technologies, the location data and technology platform.
The research highlights a lack of awareness of connected cars, with only around a third of the 1,000 respondents knowing what they are. After they read a description, a quarter of respondents then said they had been in or driven one.
Connected cars offer various benefits and upgrades from regular vehicles, according to the researchers. This includes real-time updates to let a user know if they need to change their route to avoid traffic jams, automated lane keeping and braking to reduce road accidents, and more.
The researchers state that roughly half of the respondents identified safety benefits of connected cars, including reducing vehicle damage, traffic jams and travel time, as well as fewer instances of people driving when tired or while using a mobile phone.
When asked about top features associated with connected vehicles, three quarters of respondents selected practical benefits such as live traffic and safety alerts versus just a third choosing entertainment.
On the other hand, those with security concerns were less likely to expect such benefits, with inbuilt payment tech standing out as something they were far less likely to expect than other respondents.
When asked if the safety benefits would outweigh their security concerns, younger respondents were more than twice as likely to agree, suggesting safety features make up a smaller part of the decision-making mindset for older Australians.
With security and privacy emerging as key concerns, the survey also explored Australia's current understanding of the type of data collected, as well as who owns and stores it.
Concerns around data are specific to connected vehicles, with around two thirds stating they are equally worried about location tracking via their phone versus their car - or just don't worry about either at all.
Of those surveyed, 80% don't know what data is collected by connected vehicles, most believe it is currently owned and stored by the software provider.
A quarter felt this responsibility should be held by government agencies, while most thought it should be the vehicle manufacturer.
In addition, more than half (57%) of those comfortable with connected vehicles said they would trust automotive brands they knew even more, further underlining the role of vehicle manufacturers in comfort towards connected cars.
HERE head of Oceania Daniel Antonello says, “A small number of the estimated one billion vehicles globally are currently connected but Australia is in fact one of the more developed markets.
"$15.2 billion was allocated to infrastructure upgrades in the latest Federal Budget and each State has their own approach to transport technology. One example is the Transport 2056 plan in NSW, aiming to keep people moving quickly and safely as the population continues to rise.
Antonello says, “There's a way to go in terms of bringing people around to the idea of connected vehicles. While the features and benefits are relatively well understood, concerns around cybersecurity prevail alongside widespread confusion over who owns what data.
"Regulatory reform is on the cards which will set a standard for vehicle manufacturers to follow. From there, auto brands that take a lead on educating their customers stand to gain a sizeable competitive advantage.