Connected VehicleInterviews

Vehicle data can enable automakers to create new features and services: Darren Mann

Darren Mann – Vice President of Operations, Airbiquity, shared his views with Telematics Wire on different issues related to automotive industry. It is being reproduced here.

Q1: How important is the collection and analysis of data for the automotive industry?

A1: It’s extremely valuable for automakers to collect and analyze data to gain crucial information about vehicle operations and surrounding environments. Historically, the data that automakers collected has focused on basic vehicle states such as location, speed, braking, and other operational diagnostics. However, as in-vehicle technology advances, and those vehicles become increasingly connected, automakers will extract new high-value data sets such as traffic and road conditions, weather, driver preferences, and more. This data can then enable automakers to create new features and services, enhancing and personalizing the driving experience while also creating a safer driving environment for everyone on the road. For example, analysis of vehicle data can help automakers assess road conditions and provide proactive alerts to drivers about flooded streets to prevent vehicle damage and accidents, improve road navigation, and reduce wear and emissions. Additionally, after anonymization, vehicle data can be shared with federal, state, and local transportation agencies to assist with transportation planning and road condition assessments based on actual driving activity further helping to improve road safety.

Q2: How can automakers regulate the data they collect,and what are the challenges?

A2: Data privacy regulations around the world—like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—are a huge challenge for automakers in terms of data management. The reason is the onus is being placed on data controllers and processors, in this case automakers and the service companies that support them, to ensure compliance with emerging and evolving data regulations. Additionally, achieving and maintaining compliance will get more difficult for automakers as the volume and types of data being collected exponentially grows. To put this into perspective, today’s connected vehicles generate .02GB of data daily. Fully autonomous vehicles of the future are predicted to generate 4,000GB of data daily. Once the data has been collected the automakers will need to maintain tight control over who is using the data, what they are using the data for, and what happens to the data when it is no longer needed – all while maintaining compliance with data privacy regulations. This level of data management is something new to the automotive industry, and automakers will need to introduce new technology and processes to make it work correctly. A critical component in the data management solution will be robust back-end data management systems that can dynamically configure and track data collection, distribution, and usage by automakers and authorized third-party ecosystems participating in data value generation.

Q3: How do the companies see regulations such as GDPR coming into place?

A3: GDPR, CCPA and equivalents in other countries will eventually establish standardized international regulations regarding data privacy that the automotive industry will have to comply with on a global basis. Unfortunately, a majority of automotive companies likely struggled to adhere to GDPR when it was first published, and fragmentation of different privacy laws around the world—U.S. State versus Federal law in particular—can result in a very complex privacy model that the automotive industry must cope with. Having said this, the direction I see is that more and more countries will adopt GDPR-like rules which will result in standard policies whereby the automotive industry gives real-time consumer opt-in and opt-out capabilities similar to those deployed in other sectors like online marketing. Consumers will get into their vehicles and have a number of options to select from. Do they want their vehicles to tell them where to get coffee? If so, will they allow their GPS location to be tracked for use by navigation systems and promotional tie-ins to coffee shops participating in third party ecosystems? Everything should and will be very transparent to comply with stricter consumer data use and sharing regulations. Consumers will also be able to choose to enable or stop a service anytime they want based on value received.

Q4: How are OTA software updates and data management linked to each other?

A4: Software in the vehicle and in the cloud will enable connected cars to increasingly collect and transmit data for automakers and authorized third parties to perform analytics and derive value. They will also support “edge” computing using on-board software analytics modules. All of the software components making this happen will require periodic updates for continuous performance optimization. Simultaneously,the sevehicles will become more complex to support vehicle-to-everything (V2X) and autonomous driving capabilities powered by an increasing number of electronic control units (ECUs)managing engines, powertrains, and other functions. OTA software updates will be crucial to keeping connected vehicle software up to date and providing a continuous flow of data and analytics.

Q5: You mentioned security,transparency, and accountability as the pillars to privacy. Please elaborate.

A5: Security, transparency, and accountability are crucial tenants that automakers must keep in mind when it comes to their data privacy practices. Automakers must ensure they have the appropriate security measures in place to protect the personal data they collect; they need to be transparent with consumers about their data collection practices and their reasoning behind it; and they must take responsibility for what they do with the data and how they comply with regulations. In the past, companies would just collect data and do whatever they want with it. With consumers becoming increasingly aware of the amount and type of their data that’s collected, and the ways companies can profit from that data, automakers will have no choice but to modify their operations and policies into compliance with data regulations like GDPR. Automakers that do it right will benefit in the long run from enhanced consumer trust and brand loyalty—but it will be a lot of work to achieve that compliance.

Q6: How does Airbiquity help automakers meet data privacy goals?

A6: Airbiquity has a product offering for OTA software updates and data management called OTAmatic®. OTAmatic enables automakers to manage both software updates and manage data collection and distribution using one system with highly refined policy controls that can be modified dynamically as the automaker sees fit. OTAmatic also features automotive grade security through the utilization of widely adopted standards-based security technologies and the integration of an end-to-end Uptane-based security framework. This complex security framework is specifically designed for automotive and protects connected vehicle software and data transmissions and installations across the entire vehicle platform versus approaches previously applied to less safety critical infotainment centers in vehicle cabins.

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