Here are some of my answers to some common questions and misconceptions about connected cars. I work at Freescale Semiconductor on automotive microcontrollers, but I'm also a driver and a consumer.
The connected car: What’s in it for me? What does it actually mean?
Those are typically the first questions I ask when considering a change. In the case of whether or not I want my car connected to the Internet of Things (IOT), the change is going to be gradual, but I think in the long run–10 years from now–very fundamental.
The first phase will be having some of the latest cool features in my car that don’t necessarily affect my driving experience, but will make it more fun for my passengers (i.e., with more content) and safer, with more driver alerts and some intervention by the car. For me, and I imagine for most people, that transition will happen under the radar, pardon the pun. It will build familiarity and confidence in partially sharing control of the car with the on-board technology.
But does my car really need to be connected to an external network?
By connecting the car to an external network, I appreciate that it will further improve the safety, as my car will be able to view data from other cars that are in my vicinity and vice versa. So, if they are experiencing an issue that is beyond my line of sight, I will know about it sooner.
But at what price does this benefit come?
The latest sensors that are now being fitted to more cars; radar, vision, lidar, ultra-sonic, vehicle to x and future biometric sensors, will improve the driver’s experience and time spent in the car, but they also increase the value of the car in terms of a data generator. That data is valuable.
Will I own that data or will someone else. Is that the price I will pay?
I expect companies will adopt different business models with regard to data ownership – from the car company owning all data generated by the car, to the owner of the car having full data ownership.
Would I relinquish ownership of some, or all, of my data for some form of financial or safety gain?
I would. Knowing that more cars are connected and working together, would definitely be something I would pay for. Not only for my own benefit when I’m behind the wheel of my car, but also when I’m at home sitting on the sofa and knowing that my children are driving in an environment where more cars are connected and working together to improve everyone’s safety.
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