Auto Service World
News   March 8, 2016   by Steve Pawlett

Usability Issues, Top Complaint Of Drivers


Some 67% of 2013 car owners have indicated experiencing a voice-recognition problem, related to the car not recognizing or misinterpreting, voice commands.

The complaints are based on J.D. Powers 2016 Vehicle Dependability Study of original owners of 2013-model vehicles.

Ranking right up there with voice recognition complaints is Bluetooth connectivity. J.D. Power says among owners with connectivity complaints, 53% said their vehicles didn’t find or recognize their mobile devices.

And J.D. Power says the frustration with onboard technology doesn’t go away over time. Usability problems reported during the first 90 days of ownership are still bothering owners three years later in ever-higher numbers, while at the same time the penetration of these features continues to increase.

“Consumers are continuing to struggle with it, and even consumers who are on their second or third vehicle with these systems are still having problems,” said J.D. Power’s Dave Sargent.

“Vehicles are increasingly being designed to use voice recognition. Consumers want to be able to use it, but often they find it simply doesn’t work they way they want it to and they will just give up and stop using it completely.”

Ambient noise in a moving vehicle, competing voices from kids in the back seat and placement of the microphone are among challenges for dashboard voice recognition systems.

Voice command features are supposed to reduce driver distraction, but the technology’s shortcomings may actually be having the opposite effect.


The auto industry is investing heavily in the next wave of automotive technology: Self-driving cars. But if you can’t trust your car to “call home,” accurately map your route, or fetch your play lists, how will automotive consumers ever embrace the idea of cars driving themselves?

“If some existing technology doesn’t work they way they expect it to, then to say, ‘Hey, you can take your hand off the wheel and the car will do everything for you,’ it’s a leap for consumers,” Sargent said.

That said, a lot of the safety technology that is laying the groundwork for autonomous driving does work well. Blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and automatic braking proved to be effective and reliable.