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Big Data is the Underlying Big Story of Connected Car

The automotive industry has recognized that “data is the new oil” because the opportunities to gather and analyze detailed vehicle data has opened up new business fields.

These “Internet of Cars” or the “Travelling Sensors” has become an important venue for the digital transformation. According to McKinsey, the automotive industry will make $ 1.5 trillion revenue worldwide with networked services. What does this mean for car owners and the business?

Currently, the emerging fields such as “connected car”, “digital lifestyle” and “mobility services” have become a competition of ideas and developments. Various actors and sectors are trying to involve in this competition. Firstly, automotive manufacturers try to develop new operating connectivity concepts and autonomous driving. Secondly, outside the automotive sector, Big Data and IoT companies are trying to enter the automobile market and to form data and services value chain.

Transportation megatrend – networked and automated driving

The application of driving assistance system such as parking aids and navigation applications that provide real-time traffic information have been developed for long. The concept of “connected car”, however, can offer much more – it is about car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication. For example, a travelling car can talk to other cars on roads and can communicate with traffic lights or barriers without human interaction. With this innovation, driving becomes more entertaining, more secure and more comfortable.

Making right driving decision – release from the traffic jams!

Today’s navigation applications can show slow-moving traffic, traffic jams, incidents or traffic lights and identify alternative routes to detour around traffic. With these applications, the driver can thus save a lot of time. All leading car manufacturers nowadays have used the underlying technology already in their vehicles to enable communication services among driving cars and report their data to central database where the data will be analyzed and sent back to the car applications to enriched road traffic information. Such systems are also expected to contribute to greater safety.

Car sweet car – the car as a home or office

With the Internet and the auto-driving technologies, the future connected car is not only a car or a networked device, it is also a mobile office or living room. Vendors are investing their efforts to provide the customers with comprehensive digital solutions around their car, from the current and accurate traffic information and vehicle control functions to online services for work, social communication and entertainments.

Healthy driving – monitor driver’s health conditions

Industry has sketched more imaginations for the diverse future scenarios. For example, physiological data can be measured from the driver’s seat, the respiratory rate and heartbeat can be recorded from the armrest and the collected information can be sent to a doctor to inform critical health conditions, and the air inside the car can be analyzed by the on-board electronics to identify specific alcohol content from the driver’s breath. In addition, different sensors can be used to detect the driver’s mood and play the matching music depending on the driver’s mood to promote a relaxed and safer driving.

War of the data world – data ownership and right to use

Automobile industry as well as IT, BI and app companies all collect or use some pieces of the Big Data puzzle. Such massive data is very valuable for the industry; however, it has its downsides. For example, it raises the question of who the owner of such data is – it is the driver, the software company for the app, the automobile manufacturer or the mobile phone company, which provides the transmission system available? And who may like to use the data?

Safety concerns beyond driving – data, reliability and transparency

How successful hacker attacks on Google’s self-driving cars have shown also the subject of vehicle safety must not be underestimated. Liability in case of accidents and personal rights must also be considered. On the other hand, the collected data can be used to monitor driver’s behaviours and create motion profiles. New possibilities, opportunities and danger are provided to the inappropriate use of this new “user transparency”.

Conclusions

The automotive world is about to change radically by the networking of the participants. IT companies will provide new experiences to the driver through the intelligent processing and making the traffic and vehicle data available. The “Internet of Cars” with networking devices and applications in the transportation systems has huge potentials. Safety, comfort and infotainment will fundamentally transform our daily lives while driving through the digital communication. However, the associated risks should not be lost sight of – in the use of sensitive data security and data protection must be guaranteed.

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