The interior of the Tesla Model S offers a glimpse of the data-rich driving environments of tomorrow.

Cars will be big data collectors in the future. They will continuously monitoring the operation and function of the many moving parts of the vehicle and hopefully giving you a warning well in advance of pending failure.



In its new report, “Emerging Technologies: Big Data in the Connected Car,” researchers at IHS Automotive forecasts there will be 152 million actively connected cars on roads globally by 2020, generating some 11.1 petabytes of data on an annual basis. That’s about 30 terabytes a day.

What will be in that data? Four key items, said Mark Boyadjis, senior analyst of infotainment and Human-Machine Interface at IHS Automotive: diagnostics, location, user experience (UX) /feature tracking, and adaptive driver assistance systems (autonomy). He said all four of these areas will drive sales, value-added services, and customer experience in the sector for years to come.

To some degree, there already are connected cars on the road. They track things like gas consumption, how many miles are left to be driven on the current tank of gas, tire pressure, and radio and entertainment usage. Over the next few years, auto makers and suppliers will collect this datain a variety of ways: for example, through a cell phone built into the car, Bluetooth transmissions to other devices, or when the car goes in for service.

Boyadjis admits, “no one knows what to do with the information at this point,” but the eventual goal is to learn user habits to improve the interfaces of the car — for example, how do they use the radio? — and to monitor auto systems and catch failures well in advance.

For instance, right now, we have maintenance intervals of every 5,000 miles or so. We take the car in to a shop for an oil change and some other checks while it’s there and then get the bad news. Or the car just up and dies on us. Big data sensors in cars should help eliminate any surprises.

“The crème de la crème is making an autonomous car. In the era of big data and the car, maintenance intervals don’t exist any more because it’s based on the condition of the car. Right now we have diagnostic information but as they collect more and more info, that will become prognostics. Will be we doing preventive maintenance on automobiles instead of repairs,” said Boyadjis.

There is a concern over privacy, however. Car rental companies have used GPS systems in their cars to give customers a ticket even though the police never caught them.

Boyadjis said the privacy debate is ongoing, but feels the data belongs to car owners, who have the choice of opting into any data research and gathering. “It’s very important for auto makers to be transparent. Transparency will lead to openness of information. I would say the end user owns all the data. But, the automaker also can claim rights to anonymized data. If you got a system collecting bits of data where they wipe info that is traceable, there’s a lot of discussion that the auto maker owns that information,” he said.

All of these details need to be defined and worked out. The first challenge, he said, is finding critical mass. Right now there are just too few vehicles collecting data and most tend to be higher-end cars. “It’s a challenge of finding a business model and getting it on the market,” said Boyadjis.

Photo credit: BBC

Via Cite World