What Consumers Really Know About Automotive Software - Sonatus Consumer Survey

When it comes to today’s cars and SUVs, we certainly appreciate a sleek exterior and stunning interior, but it’s what you don’t see that really revs our engines – the software that keeps vehicles performing optimally and powers the features we love. 

We provide a platform that allows automakers to build software-defined vehicles that can be updated with new features and functionality throughout their lifetimes, so we’re very well-versed in the automotive software landscape. We understand the role software plays in keeping vehicles secure, diagnosing maintenance issues, delivering an exceptional infotainment experience, and so much more. Because we’re so passionate about automotive software and what it enables, it’s easy to assume everyone shares that enthusiasm and knowledge. We don’t like making assumptions, however, so we decided to put this to the test and conduct a survey exploring how much consumers know about automotive software, how they feel about automotive cybersecurity, and more. Here’s what we found:

  • Over-the-air (OTA) software updates, which are used to fix bugs and add new features to a variety of connected devices including mobile phones, are becoming increasingly common in automotive. Despite their growing prevalence, nearly 40% of consumers we polled don’t know if their cars can be updated through over-the-air (OTA) software updates. 
    • This jumps to over half of respondents aged 45 and older, suggesting there’s a wider knowledge gap among older generations. 
  • When it comes to acceptance of OTA software updates, during which a car typically needs to be turned off and inoperable, time is of the essence. 
    • Only 27% of consumers would tolerate 5 or more weekly OTA updates if they were 30 mins each, but that jumps to 41% if each update took just 30 seconds.
  • Consumers are willing to pay a premium to avoid trips to the dealership for maintenance and/or repairs – 62% of respondents would pay at least $250 extra for a car that could have 95% of software maintenance and problem resolutions done remotely, and over a third of respondents (34.5%) would spend over $1,000. 
  • Despite a seemingly constant barrage of headlines around cars being hacked, over a third (36%) of consumers are not concerned about this. 
  • Of the respondents that do have concerns about automotive cybersecurity, the fear of their vehicle being stolen tops the list – 60% of respondents citing that as a key concern, followed by 55% that reported concerns of hackers gaining access to their personal data, 53% that have concerns about location tracking, and 52% that are concerned about hackers interfering with driving capabilities.
  • Given these concerns, it makes sense that many consumers would pay a premium to protect their vehicles. We found that 60% of respondents are willing to pay at least $250 on additional security features, and 30% would spend over $1,000. 
    • The youngest generation of car buyers are even more willing to spend on added security, with more than two-thirds of respondents (67.2%) aged 18-24 willing to spend at least $250, and nearly 40% (38.5%) are willing to spend over $1,000.

Want to dig into the results further? We’ve included the full set of results below, including a gender and age breakdown.

If you’re an automaker and would like to learn more about the Sonatus Digital Dynamics™ software-defined vehicle platform please drop us a note at contact@sonatus.com.

GENERAL POPULATION (NON-STRATIFIED RESULTS):

  1. Are you aware that some vehicles can be serviced and improved remotely through “over-the-air” software updates, similar to a smartphone or tablet, instead of requiring a trip to the dealership?
    1. Yes = 60.6%
    2. No = 39.4%
  2. How much more would you pay upfront for a vehicle if 95% of its required software maintenance and problem resolutions could be done remotely, over-the-air, without requiring a trip to the dealership?
    1. $0 (included in base price of vehicle) = 16.9%
    2. $1 - $250 = 21.1%
    3. $251 - $1,000 = 27.6%
    4. $1,001 - $2,500 = 19.6%
    5. More than $2,500 = 14.9%
  3. If each over-the-air software update required that your car be turned off and remain inoperable for 30 minutes, how many updates would you be willing to make each week? 
    1. 0 = 10.4%
    2. 1-2 = 37.5%
    3. 3-4 = 24.2%
    4. 5-6 = 13.4%
    5. 7 or more =14.4%
  4. If each over-the-air software update required that your car be turned off and remain inoperable for 30 seconds, how many updates would you be willing to make each week? 
    1. 0 = 9.9%
    2. 1-2 = 25.7%
    3. 3-4 = 23.5% 
    4. 5-6 = 15.2% 
    5. 7 or more = 25.7%
  5. Are you concerned that someone might be able to remotely hack into your vehicle?
    1. Yes = 64.3% 
    2. No = 35.7%
  6. If someone did remotely hack into your vehicle, which of the following are you concerned they could do? (Select all that apply)
    1. Steal possessions in the car = 45.2%
    2. Steal the car =60.1% 
    3. Steal/access your personal data = 54.7%
    4. Track your location = 53.1% 
    5. Interfere with driving capabilities (i.e adjust gear controls and speed levels) = 52.3%
  7. How much would you pay for proactive security features that would prevent a new car from being hacked?
    1. $0 (included in base price of vehicle) = 16.4%
    2. $1 - $250 = 24.0%
    3. $251 - $1,000 = 29.42%
    4. $1,001 - $2,500  = 16.93% 
    5. More than $2,500 = 13.24%

AGE SPLIT:

  1. Are you aware that some vehicles can be serviced and improved remotely through “over-the-air” software updates, similar to a smartphone or tablet, instead of requiring a trip to the dealership?
    1. Yes
      1. 18 - 24 = 62.3%
      2. 25 - 34 = 65.2%
      3. 35 - 44 = 66.7%
      4. 45 - 54 = 49.8%
      5. >54 = 47.2%
    2. No
      1. 18 - 24 = 36.8%
      2. 25 - 34 = 34.8%
      3. 35 - 44 = 33.3%
      4. 45 - 54 = 50.2%
      5. >54 = 52.8%
  2. How much more would you pay upfront for a vehicle if 95% of its required software maintenance and problem resolutions could be done remotely, over-the-air, without requiring a trip to the dealership?
    1. $0 (included in base price of vehicle)
      1. 18 - 24 = 11.7%
      2. 25 - 34 = 14.8%
      3. 35 - 44 = 17.0%
      4. 45 - 54 = 17.7%
      5. >54 = 24.7%
    2. $1 - $250
      1. 18 - 24 = 19.9%
      2. 25 - 34 = 19.5%
      3. 35 - 44 = 19.0%
      4. 45 - 54 = 23.5%
      5. >54 = 26.8%
    3. $251 - $1,000
      1. 18 - 24 = 28.1%
      2. 25 - 34 = 28.9%
      3. 35 - 44 = 29.5%
      4. 45 - 54 = 25.8%
      5. >54 = 22.1%
    4. $1,001 - $2,500
      1. 18 - 24 = 22.1%
      2. 25 - 34 = 22.8%
      3. 35 - 44 = 17.8%
      4. 45 - 54 = 17.7%
      5. >54 = 17.0%
    5. More than $2,500
      1. 18 - 24 = 18.2%
      2. 25 - 34 = 18.9%
      3. 35 - 44 = 16.8%
      4. 45 - 54 = 15.4%
      5. >54 = 9.4%
  3. If each over-the-air software update required that your car be turned off and remain inoperable for 30 minutes, how many updates would you be willing to make each week?
    1. 0
      1. 18 - 24 = 10.0%
      2. 25 - 34 = 11.3%
      3. 35 - 44 = 6.5%
      4. 45 - 54 = 8.6%
      5. >54 = 18.7%
    2. 1 - 2
      1. 18 - 24 = 35.5%
      2. 25 - 34 = 41.7%
      3. 35 - 44 = 37.2%
      4. 45 - 54 = 35.6%
      5. >54 = 34.5%
    3. 3 - 4
      1. 18 - 24 = 25.5%
      2. 25 - 34 = 23.5%
      3. 35 - 44 = 27.4%
      4. 45 - 54 = 23.5%
      5. >54 = 18.3%
    4. 5 - 6
      1. 18 - 24 = 15.6%
      2. 25 - 34 = 12.7%
      3. 35 - 44 = 13.7%
      4. 45 - 54 = 14.5%
      5. >54 = 11.1%
    5. 7 or more
      1. 18 - 24 = 13.4%
      2. 25 - 34 = 10.8%
      3. 35 - 44 = 15.1%
      4. 45 - 54 = 17.7%
      5. >54 = 17.5%
  4. If each over-the-air software update required that your car be turned off and remain inoperable for 30 seconds, how many updates would you be willing to make each week?
    1. 0
      1. 18 - 24 = 11.3%
      2. 25 - 34 = 9.4%
      3. 35 - 44 = 7.2%
      4. 45 - 54 = 12.2%
      5. >54 = 13.2%
    2. 1 - 2
      1. 18 - 24 = 23.8%
      2. 25 - 34 = 27.5%
      3. 35 - 44 = 26.2%
      4. 45 - 54 = 22.6%
      5. >54 = 26.0%
    3. 3 - 4
      1. 18 - 24 = 22.9%
      2. 25 - 34 = 26.1%
      3. 35 - 44 = 27.0%
      4. 45 - 54 = 20.4%
      5. >54 = 14.9%
    4. 5 - 6
      1. 18 - 24 = 14.7%
      2. 25 - 34 = 16.9%
      3. 35 - 44 = 13.9%
      4. 45 - 54 = 14.5%
      5. >54 = 15.7%
    5. 7 or more
      1. 18 - 24 = 27.3%
      2. 25 - 34 = 20.0%
      3. 35 - 44 = 25.8%
      4. 45 - 54 = 30.3%
      5. >54 = 30.2%
  5. Are you concerned that someone might be able to remotely hack into your vehicle?
    1. Yes
      1. 18 - 24 = 65.8%
      2. 25 - 34 = 66.4%
      3. 35 - 44 = 67.7%
      4. 45 - 54 = 61.5%
      5. >54 = 54.5%
    2. No
      1. 18 - 24 = 34.2%
      2. 25 - 34 = 33.7%
      3. 35 - 44 = 32.3%
      4. 45 - 54 = 38.5%
      5. >54 = 45.5%
  6. If someone did remotely hack into your vehicle, which of the following are you concerned they could do? (Select all that apply)
    1. Steal possessions in the car
      1. 18 - 24 = 44.2%
      2. 25 - 34 = 47.1%
      3. 35 - 44 = 46.4%
      4. 45 - 54 = 44.3%
      5. >54 = 41.3%
    2. Steal the car
      1. 18 - 24 = 55.8%
      2. 25 - 34 = 60.0%
      3. 35 - 44 = 59.3%
      4. 45 - 54 = 63.4%
      5. >54 = 63.0%
    3. Steal/access your personal data
      1. 18 - 24 = 52.0%
      2. 25 - 34 = 58.6%
      3. 35 - 44 = 56.9%
      4. 45 - 54 = 49.8%
      5. >54 = 50.2%
    4. Track your location
      1. 18 - 24 = 50.7%
      2. 25 - 34 = 57.7%
      3. 35 - 44 = 52.6%
      4. 45 - 54 = 52.5%
      5. >54 = 48.9%
    5. Interfere with driving capabilities (i.e adjust gear controls and speed levels)
      1. 18 - 24 = 49.8%
      2. 25 - 34 = 52.2%
      3. 35 - 44 = 51.9%
      4. 45 - 54 = 52.5%
      5. >54 = 55.7%
  7. How much would you pay for proactive security features that would prevent a new car from being hacked?
    1. $0
      1. 18 - 24 = 12.1%
      2. 25 - 34 = 13.9%
      3. 35 - 44 = 16.2%
      4. 45 - 54 = 15.8%
      5. >54 = 26.4%
    2. $1 - $250
      1. 18 - 24 = 20.8%
      2. 25 - 34 = 23.5%
      3. 35 - 44 = 23.1%
      4. 45 - 54 = 25.3%
      5. >54 = 28.5%
    3. $251 - $1,000
      1. 18 - 24 = 28.6%
      2. 25 - 34 = 31.3%
      3. 35 - 44 = 28.4%
      4. 45 - 54 = 32.6%
      5. >54 = 26.0%
    4. $1,001 - $2,500
      1. 18 - 24 = 19.5%
      2. 25 - 34 = 17.9%
      3. 35 - 44 = 18.6%
      4. 45 - 54 = 13.1%
      5. >54 = 12.8%
    5. More than $2,500
      1. 18 - 24 = 19.1%
      2. 25 - 34 = 13.4%
      3. 35 - 44 = 13.7%
      4. 45 - 54 = 13.1%
      5. >54 = 6.4%

GENDER SPLIT:

  1. Are you aware that some vehicles can be serviced and improved remotely through “over-the-air” software updates, similar to a smartphone or tablet, instead of requiring a trip to the dealership?
    1. Yes
      1. Men = 68.7%
      2. Women = 51.8%
    2. No
      1. Men = 31.3%
      2. Women = 48.2%
  2. How much more would you pay upfront for a vehicle if 95% of its required software maintenance and problem resolutions could be done remotely, over-the-air, without requiring a trip to the dealership?
    1. $0 (included in base price of vehicle)
      1. Men = 12.8%
      2. Women = 21.3%
    2. $1 - $250
      1. Men = 18.7%
      2. Women = 23.6%
    3. $251 - $1,000 
      1. Men = 28.8%
      2. Women = 26.2%
    4. $1,001 - $2,500
      1. Men = 22.8%
      2. Women = 16.2%
    5. More than $2,500
      1. Men = 16.9%
      2. Women = 12.8%
  3. If each over-the-air software update required that your car be turned off and remain inoperable for 30 minutes, how many updates would you be willing to make each week? 
    1. 0
      1. Men = 10%
      2. Women = 10.7%
    2. 1-2
      1. Men = 34.2%
      2. Women = 41.2%
    3. 3-4
      1. Men = 26.3%
      2. Women = 22%
    4. 5-6
      1. Men = 14.3%
      2. Women = 12.5%
    5. 7 or more 
      1. Men = 15.2%
      2. Women = 13.6%
  4. If each over-the-air software update required that your car be turned off and remain inoperable for 30 seconds, how many updates would you be willing to make each week? 
    1. 0
      1. Men = 9.7%
      2. Women = 10.2%
    2. 1-2
      1. Men = 24%
      2. Women = 27.5%
    3. 3-4
      1. Men = 25.9%
      2. Women = 20.9%
    4. 5-6
      1. Men = 16.1%
      2. Women = 14.2%
    5. 7 or more 
      1. Men = 24.3%
      2. Women = 27.3%
  5. Are you concerned that someone might be able to remotely hack into your vehicle?
    1. Yes
      1. Men = 66.4%
      2. Women = 61.9%
    2. No
      1. Men = 33.6%
      2. Women = 38%
  6. If someone did remotely hack into your vehicle, which of the following are you concerned they could do? (Select all that apply)
    1. Steal possessions in the car
      1. Men = 47.4%
      2. Women = 42.9%
    2. Steal the car
      1. Men = 57.4%
      2. Women = 63%
    3. Steal/access your personal data
      1. Men = 53.5%
      2. Women = 55.9%
    4. Track your location
      1. Men = 52.9%
      2. Women = 53.3%
    5. Interfere with driving capabilities (i.e adjust gear controls and speed levels) 
      1. Men = 53%
      2. Women = 51.6%
  7. How much would you pay for proactive security features that would prevent a new car from being hacked?
    1. $0 (included in base price of vehicle)
      1. Men = 14.5%
      2. Women = 18.5%
    2. $1 - $250
      1. Men = 22.3%
      2. Women = 25.8%
    3. $251 - $1,000 
      1. Men = 29.5%
      2. Women = 29.3%
    4. $1,001 - $2,500
      1. Men = 18.7%
      2. Women = 15%
    5. More than $2,500
      1. Men = 15%
      2. Women = 11.3%

Methodology: Survey of 1600 U.S. adults from March 17 to March 23, 2022, conducted via Pollfish.

ABOUT SONATUS

Sonatus helps automakers build software-defined vehicles with next-generation architectures capable of supporting the most advanced future mobility use cases. Leveraging extensive software-defined expertise, the company compresses decades of digital innovation into scalable vehicle and cloud software solutions that can be integrated in as little as a year. Sonatus’ dynamic In-Vehicle infrastructure, Data Management and Automation solutions form the core for digitally dynamic vehicles that are able to evolve and adapt in real-time — empowering automakers to innovate faster, reduce complexity and costs, and become more agile.

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