Tires that can be driven on when flat, cars that automatically dial 911 when they get into an accident and computer vision-enhancement systems are among the future car features deemed most interesting to consumers, according to a J.D. Power & Associates study released Tuesday.
The survey, which measured consumer opinions on new technologies being explored by auto makers, found that safety and security items topped the list.
But fewer than half those surveyed indicated they were willing to pay extra for such features.
The emerging technologies of greatest interest to consumers, in order, were:
1. Run-flat tires. They can be driven up to 100 miles when flat, eliminating the need for a spare.
2. Automatic 911 dialing. In an accident, the vehicle would automatically contact emergency authorities and report its location.
3. Vision enhancement. A computer screen display would aid driving when visibility is poor.
4. Automatic stability control. Sensors would modulate anti-lock brakes and throttle to keep the driver from losing control.
5. Automatic navigation control. By entering an address or location, a driver would be directed by computer screen around a traffic jam to his or her destination.
6. Electronic driving assistance. An alarm would sound if the vehicle was in danger of hitting another vehicle or passenger.
7. Collision-avoidance system. A sensor would warn the vehicle of the danger of a collision and automatically apply the brakes.
8. Hybrid engines. They are powered by electricity with a gasoline backup.
9. Electric engines. They run on electricity to reduce exhaust emissions.
10. Remote start-up. A button on the ignition key would start the vehicle from a distance, allowing it to warm up without the driver.
11. Automatic pilot. The vehicle would automatically follow the road and drive to its destination.
12. Voice activation. Vocal commands tell the car what to do.
13. Modular body styles. Three or four different body styles would be available, allowing the driver to change the vehicle's configuration.
"Consumers are clearly interested in new devices that will help alleviate concerns about their safety and security," said J.D. Power III, president of the automotive consulting firm.