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New-vehicle owners hesitate to use driving assistance technology, J.D. Power study finds

New-vehicle owners are willing to adopt some driving assistance technologies, but are still hesitant of other systems or alerts, according to J.D. Power's annual technology experience study.

Lane-keeping and centering systems, and other alerts, can be so bothersome that new-vehicle owners will often disable them or avoid them on future purchases, according to the study.

J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Tech Experience Index Study, which was released Tuesday, considers the way drivers interact with, or choose to disable, advanced driver assistance systems in vehicles.

The study measures owners' experiences, usage of and interaction with 38 driver-centric vehicle technologies, including entertainment and connectivity, collision protection and comfort and convenience. The study also measures owners' experiences with driving assistance technology, smartphone mirroring and navigation.

Collision protection ranked highest in owner satisfaction of the six categories measured in the study, with a score of 813 on a 1,000-point scale. Overall, the average industry score improved 15 points from last year to 781. This year, the lowest score was 709.

The Kia Stinger scored highest at 834 points. According to Kristin Kolodge, executive director of Driver Interaction & Human Machine Interface Research at J.D. Power, the Kia Stinger posted a satisfaction score above 800 in five of the six study categories. The top performing areas are driving assistance, where the head-up display and cluster were rated highly, and smartphone mirroring.

The Hyundai Kona, Toyota C-HR, Kia Forte, Chevrolet Blazer, Porsche Cayenne and Ford Expedition also ranked highest in their segments. Aside from the Kia Stinger, the top-performing vehicles' scores were not made available.

This is the second consecutive year the Expedition, Kona and Stinger all received a segment award.

Certain alerts were particularly annoying, according to the study. On average, 23 percent of customers with lane-keeping and centering systems found them bothersome.

"Automakers are spending lots of money on advanced technology development, but the constant alerts can confuse and frustrate drivers," said Kolodge. "If they can't be sold on lane-keeping -- a core technology of self-driving -- how are they going to accept fully automated vehicles? "

The study also found that built-in entertainment and connectivity apps are not meeting owners' expectations. Among the 29 percent of owners who have discontinued the use of built-in apps, 46 percent say they "do not need it" and 18 percent say they "have another device that performs the function better."

Carla Bailo, CEO of the Center for Automotive Research, told Automotive News in July there is a need to educate consumers about in-vehicle technology.

"The automated driver assistance systems that are now on vehicles," Bailo said, "sixty percent of people are turning them off. Why? Because they don't understand how they operate. So they're beeping at them; they hate the beeping, they don't know how to change the settings so they're just turning it off."

The study is based on responses from more than 16,400 owners and lessees of new 2019 vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership. Responses were gathered from February through July. This was the fourth year for the study.