|▶In Europe, Businesses Push Carmakers to Share Driver Data (2022-05-17)|
Cars are collecting more information about how people drive and what they are doing while they drive.
The cars gather information about the music their drivers listen to and their good and bad driving habits.
More cars with computer processors and internet connections are getting on the road. The data they collect is valuable to car manufacturers and also information technology companies.
In Europe, European Commission officials are reportedly calling for rules about how car makers should make information available to others in the car business.
For example, car repair shops, insurance companies, and leasing companies all want information collected from drivers. But in some cases, large car makers seem unsure about sharing that data with other companies.
One critic said the car makers are “gatekeepers” who will make money by charging others for access. If they charge too much, they will restrict competition. Independent repair shops, for example, are worried that they will not be able to fix cars if they cannot look at the information stored by a car’s computer. Instead, drivers will be required to go to service centers owned by the manufacturer.
Sylvia Gotzen leads a trade group called FIGIEFA which represents repair shops and car parts makers in Europe. She said car makers get the full amount of data available while businesses she represents get “crumbs.”
But European car makers say they need to protect drivers by restricting how much information they share. A spokesperson for the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said “uncontrolled access” is a safety and personal data security threat.
Stellantis, General Motors and Volkswagen are car manufacturers that plan to make money from driver data. Some will create computer programs drivers can buy.
BMW does not agree that it is restricting access. If drivers give permission, the German automaker says it can share 100 “data points,” or kinds of information, with independent organizations. But the FIGIEFA said today’s cars produce thousands of data points.
BMW said it would like to have a meeting organized by a group, such as the European Commission, to make a list of car data points that everyone can agree on.
The chief of Stellantis gave an example of how data from its cars can help cities become safer. He said his company can look at data created by a car’s brakes and then tell a city which intersections on its streets cause the most emergency stops. But he added that kind of research can be costly.
If the car makers permit the owners access to all the information, Gotzen of FIGIEFA said, a repair shop could access the data from an internet connection. This would save car owners time and money because tests can take a lot of time and become costly.
“All of this is technically possible right now,” she said. But she added that “car manufacturers prevent us from doing this.”
[March 22, 2022]