Xperi subsidiary DTS, Inc., which specializes in next-generation audio, imaging and sensing technology, has released a new report, “The Vehicle as a Third Space.” The report discusses the increasing importance of the vehicle as a third space and uncovers drivers’ preferred in-cabin features and functionality.
Based on a national consumer survey conducted by Big Village, the report finds that 75% of Gen Z drivers (ages 18 to 25 years), and 49% of drivers overall, are more likely to view their vehicle as a third space today, compared to pre-Covid. The report defined a ‘third space’ to survey respondents as a place outside of work and the house to relax, enjoy hobbies, and escape the stresses of work, such as a coffee shop, library, park or vehicle; the “first space” as home; and the ‘second space’ as a workplace.
“Automotive has conquered the vehicle exterior, but the next evolution is all about solving the vehicle interior, especially its role as a third space,” said Jeff Jury, Xperi senior vice president and general manager of Connected Car. “Consumers, especially younger drivers, are moving from viewing their vehicle as simple transportation toward seeing it as a space where they can relax and escape. This demands technology that can merge safety with a vehicle cockpit that meets their entertainment, comfort, personalization and wellness needs. It is the future of the connected car industry.”
Key survey takeaways include:
- Using their vehicle as a third space is the top reason drivers say their personal vehicle is more important today (52%), followed by discomfort with public transportation or ride-sharing (48%) and the vehicle’s ability to offer a place of refuge (41%) during these challenging times.
- Audio/radio entertainment (79%) ranked third in terms of what drivers wanted as a design feature in a vehicle, after safety and peace of mind (82%) and comfort (80%). Convenience, personalization and health features also rank highly.
- 69% of drivers say advanced personalization (vehicle “knows” you and your occupants and can adjust/personalize music choices, lighting, temperature, etc.) is important in enhancing the third space experience.
- One in four would like a radio in-dash experience that is more robust, immersive, visual and informative.
- 91% of Gen Z and Millennial drivers are interested in responsive mood-sensing technologies such as a sound bath or music activated by a sensed state of mind.
- Among those who do not think of their vehicle as a third space, nearly one in three would if it was completely self-driving.
Richard Tomasco, vice president of Big Village, says, “As the survey makes clear, interest in a more immersive, customized experience among drivers suggests exciting new possibilities for the future of the vehicle as a third space.”
You can access the report here.