Believe it or not, big data is the new gold. Poured into the fuel tank of the automotive industry, it is transforming itself into growth booster, creating new services and users` benefits. The core focus of big data and cars is not just autonomous vehicles, it is about humans and how they use their cars on an amazingly granular level.
Millions, if not a billion people get in a car every single day. They travel to work, home, shopping, drive just for fun. People do different things. Knowing where they are going and what they are doing can be valuable piece of information. Collecting, sorting, and packaging of such data is relatively easy. And then it could be sold to anyone who wants to buy it.
Two sets of data can be extracted from sensor-filled cars. One is generated by the car itself, like the information on how components perform on the particular vehicle. This is useful in terms of maintenance analytics in order to know when exactly the car will underperform or it will need servicing. It is also helpful for the engineers making them aware of possible warranty issues by performing trend analysis. This is going to lead to engineering that is more effective.
More interesting is the data related to cars` users behavior. It is a massive amount of information and it can tell a lot about you. Chevrolet alone in U.S. market gathered 4220 TB of customers` cars data during past year, says automotive expert John McElroy in a recent Autoblog feature. You have to have in mind that the smart system called OnStar used by Chevrolet is also available in a bunch of GM products sold under the brands of Cadillac, Buick, GMC, and Opel. McElroy is quoting forecasts that such data market might growth up to $750 billion by 2030. Retailers, advertisers, product planners, financial analysts, government, etc. are interested in obtaining such data in order to extract valuable insights. Cross such data with users` social or financial behavior and get access to many marketing and planning shortcuts.
To sum it up in a few words, your car insurer would be happy to know a lot more of your driving skills than you or the local authorities are sharing.
Big data can give a lot more than this. It can help infotainment systems to let you know if there are any congestions ahead of your route. BMW is already exploiting road data in order to help their drivers for more efficient driving by prompting them to push brakes or to stop acceleration since the next crossroad is close.
The biggest hype on cars big data is reserved for the autonomous vehicles. Both Apple & Google invested a lot in their own cars and both left off those projects. Up to date, Tesla is the only automotive manufacturer (as far as we can give them such credit) that unleashed fully autonomous vehicles, even though the excellence is far away. Almost all of the main players in the automotive market heavily invested in semi-autonomous systems working just like those one developed by Tesla. Well, they are not brave like Elon Musk and released them more as safety aiding systems than fully automated autopilot.
Are cars capable of collecting more data beyond this one related to them and the people who drive them? Well, they can gather data on other cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, etc. and to be utilized in terms of improving safety.