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The marketing implications of a driverless future

3 min read

Back to Blog

3 min read

The marketing implications of a driverless future

Author: Phil Birss
Posted in Technology on 26th November 2015 8:19 pm

Google’s driverless cars have been making the news lately but the search giant isn’t the only one with designs on reinventing the steering wheel. The SARTRE project funded by the European Commission has been trialling technology that allows cars to travel in convoys, with real-world tests happening on Spanish motorways over the last couple of years. And tests have been going very well for both companies. Mercedes and other manufacturers have also dipped their toes in the water.

Automation is just the start, though. We reckon the driverless cars of the future are going to be multimedia centres on wheels. Bentley has already been fiddling with the idea with its Mulsanne Executive concept jam-packed with iPads, Macs in the boot, and a stonking six screens in total. And get a load of the Tesla Model S; a driverless electric car that’s more like a lounge, with screens providing all the entertainment you’ll ever need.

There are so many people that can benefit from a driverless future, from the elderly and infirm to people who are just not too confident getting behind the wheel. But is the world ready to give up driving? Not for one second, but there’s no doubt that the driverless market will only continue to grow. And manufacturers like Vauxhall and Renault are already adding touchscreen tech to their models to attract a younger crowd and sync with their existing technology.

When it comes to marketing though early adopters can be big winners. Harman has recently revealed technology that allows individual passengers to listen to their own music without headphones, while BMW’s new iDrive technology looks especially snazzy. A driverless future or not, marketers can start looking at ways to integrate their services, apps, games, multimedia and more onto these devices, especially for passengers with too much time on their hands.

Drivers can’t be privy to playing games and such, though, for obvious reasons with cars like the Vauxhall Adam safeguarding against such behaviour until the car is at a complete stop. Which is where the social change for the driverless market is so interesting. Will technology like the above be a way for manufacturers to convince people to buy a model? Will the technological advances be enough of an incentive to give up the raw feeling of driving?

Because marketers can also take advantage of the time available to people sat in a driverless car. The single biggest problem that owners will have is how to fill up the extra time as they sit around on a two-hour drive along the motorway. Internet ahoy, and more time for people to search for new websites and companies.

For marketers and small businesses that can mean attracting new people passing through their town if their online presence is properly optimised, targeting new traffic with geolocation campaigns, clever content, social marketing, and much more besides. As exciting as it all may be, the driverless market will be a slow burn. But its roots lie firmly in the digital sphere, and there’s every chance it can be a whole new way to reach potential customers.

Enjoyed this blog? Read our previous blogs – How to: Monetise your social media channels and Mobile search traffic finally overtakes desktop

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