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Self-driving cars are rapidly coming to the public’s attention, especially due to their potential to dramatically reduce wrecks and improve the overall driving experience. For the digital signage industry, self-driving cars could present a big opportunity for innovation for DOOH. Kevin Foreman, vice president and general manager of enterprise at INRIX, discussed the technology at a session at the Digital Signage Expo.

Are we there yet?

The first fact to consider is how far along the self driving industry is to full acceptance. Foreman identified six levels of autonomy for self driving cars:

  • Warnings
  • Hands on
  • Hands off
  • Eyes off
  • Mind off
  • No wheel

While most cars have warnings and some degree of autonomy, Foreman believes we are far away from self driving cars becoming the primary mode of transportation in America, simply due to the sheer number of other cars in the market.

“If Trump said tomorrow only self driving cars could be made, it would take 11 years for them to take over the market. If anyone says otherwise, they are smoking something,” Foreman said.

That being said, there are still opportunities for DOOH in the future, as self driving cars grow in popularity, according to Foreman.

Longer drive times

Most people have a limit on the time they will drive for a daily commute, although it varies from place to place. With self driving cars, however, people will be willing to tolerate longer commutes.

“When you can do more things while driving, you will have longer commutes,” Foreman said. People will be able to work on a variety of tasks while sitting in their cars, from checking emails to tweeting.

This will offer a key opportunity for DOOH as they will have more time to interact with their audiences.

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More exposure

DOOH campaigns normally have to make their impression quickly. After all, drivers need to have their eyes on the road, so they only have a few seconds at best to look at advertisements. Once drivers are no longer driving, however, they will have more time to take in the sights.

Foreman described it as like being a passenger in a car. You have more time to pay attention to your surroundings. DOOH campaigns will be able to get far more exposure, at least initially.

However, as customers become more used to their surroundings, they will probably start to ignore more DOOH campaigns. This is where the center console comes into play.

More center console advertising

There is also another opportunity for DOOH companies to integrate advertisements into center consoles, such as ones used for live streaming TV.

Customers could even get discounted rates on consoles by purchasing them with advertising support. This could enable DOOH providers to offer hyper localized content, based on the customer’s surroundings. For example, if there is a restaurant nearby, the console could deliver an advertisement with a coupon.

It’s a matter of time

Foreman believes it is only a matter of time before self driving cars become dominant, even if it might take a while. He argues a single fatality with a self driving car, while tragic, is small compared to the 32,000 deaths caused by car accidents in America every year.

Once the human driver is replaced with a machine, humans will have more time for other things such as doing work and getting the most out of DOOH campaigns.

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