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Are you ready to share your car data?

Digital cars collect an incredible amount of data as they connect and interact with the environment. Many parties are eager to access and use your car data. Would you let them?

Emmanuel Maillard / September 25, 2018

Digital cars are connected to the internet and have hundreds of in-car sensors, cameras and lidar remote sensing units, not to mention GPS equipped hard-installed navigation units or smartphones that enable real-time location information.

Your modern car is equipped to collect a massive amount of information. It may gather data on for example the driver’s alertness and driving patterns, or safety factors like seat belts status, speed, or the distance to the car ahead. Location data such as position, direction and points-of-interest nearby can naturally also be collected, as can information regarding the driving environment such as temperature, road condition, speed limit and traffic density. Data about the trip is likewise of interest, for example the duration or the drive, the route and distance travelled, and so on. These were just a few examples of the vast quantity of car data that numerous parties would be more than happy to access.

Car data could greatly improve safety. For example, insurance companies and law enforcement could digitally reconstruct traffic accidents, or prevent risky situations by monitoring driver alertness, or by giving advance warnings about for instance black ice on the road or nearby deer.

Car data also acts as a fuel for totally new types of service innovations. Good examples are insurances based on the amount of driving (pay-as-you-drive), or driving behaviour (pay-how-you-drive), in which insurance becomes cheaper the less kilometres or “more safely” you drive. 

Examples of parties eager to access your car data

Who owns car data?

Car manufacturers and service providers are now actively considering services to collect telematics data, processing data, and selling access to service providers. An interesting pilot is BMW’s and IBM’s joint platform BMW CarData, which is fuelled by 8.5 million BMW cars with in-built telematics units.

However, many consumers are increasingly cautious about granting permission to access their car data. Governments and regulators are also addressing data privacy issues by introducing new laws and regulations to protect consumers. A good example in the EU is GDPR, which defines the ground rules for processing and storing personal data – and full transparency for consumers to know what is being stored as well as the right to be forgotten.

Car companies and service providers believe that benefits will attract consumers to share their data. Consumers sharing their data could be offered for example convenience though automated payments, predictive service invitations, and relevant recommendations. Perks offered to drivers sharing car data could also include for example driving assistance, smart routing and advance warnings, or monetary benefits such as loyalty coupons, discounts in insurances, car-as-a service, and ride sharing.

Would perks like these be incentive enough for you? Would you be ready to share your car data?

I would. Provided that I know who is using my data and for what purposes; what kind of tangible benefits I receive in return for giving my consent – and that I can opt-out any time I want with none of my car data stored any more.

Read also articles: 

What if a car crash is caused by a bug in the software?

The acid test for autonomous driving algorithms in the North

Emmanuel Maillard
VP, Automotive Software

Emmanuel Maillard is responsible for the global Automotive business in Tietoevry Create's software engineering services division. He has held multiple management positions in sales and business development. He is passionate about digital technologies and experienced in navigating in the fast-moving automotive industry business.

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