Chinese telematic and car connectivity provider Pateo presented its Project N concept at the Auto Shanghai show recently. Besides features such as autonomous driving, iris recognition, traffic forecasts and remotely controlled home appliances, one particularly notable innovation of Project N is its ability to ‘detect the driver’s bio condition’ through a complex system of sensors gauging the driver’s heartbeat, blood pressure and body temperature. During the demonstration, the car found the driver’s blood pressure a little bit high and then automatically recommended a vegetarian restaurant and provided the best route with GPS navigation. The company is looking to start commercial production in 2018, with an expected price range of ¥350,000-¥600,000.

Smart mobility

We have seen other automobile innovations that involve smart technology, from apps that help protect cars from theft and weather to the ability to repair itself and instant transparency to aid parking. We’re also seeing tech companies partner with traditional auto brands to drive the growth in smart car development. For instance, Chinese internet giants Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu have all teamed up with local automakers on smart car designs.

And this is something consumers are interested in. According to Mintel’s Car Model Preference China 2015 report, the in-car smartphone integration system (57%) and car entertainment system (55%) are ranked as the top two technology features by those planning to buy a new vehicle in the next 12 months.

In the coming years, we will see more and more digital features come as standard as brands cater for the growing demand for truly ‘smart’ features that bring safety, entertainment, comfort, convenience and personalisation to the driving experience. Auto brands or tech companies would do well to incorporate smart innovations into their designs to meet consumers’ expanded requirements.

Based in Shanghai, Philix Liu is Mintel’s Trends analyst for the APAC region. He publishes innovations, creative marketing campaigns, new designs and other trends related content happening currently. He also helps inspire brands and agencies onsite to innovate in the APAC region. Before joining Mintel, Philix held a strategic planner role at an advertising agency in Shanghai and a qualitative research role at TNS in Beijing. He’s also gained digital marketing experience as an in-house marketer in Boston.

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