Fleet News

Connected car: Driver consent on data is paramount

By Mark Chessman, Chief executive officer, FMG

The technological revolution within the automotive industry is moving at a phenomenal pace, and the age of the connected car is no doubt upon us.

Manufacturers, leasing companies, specialist fleet outsourcers, insurers and standalone technology providers are racing to protect and enhance their positions, as technology begins to change the automotive landscape. While differing forms of safety, performance and comfort technology no doubt enhance the services available to the market, it does mean the modern connected vehicle is no longer a private enclave, controlled solely by the driver. Instead, it is part of a larger and ever-growing web of data.

Technology can now continuously collect, store and transfer vast quantities of real-time information, including location, driver behaviour, maintenance requirements, video footage and breakdown fault codes. Crash notification technology is also sending immediate incident notifications, where tech-savvy companies can take action to protect the driver and mitigate costs. With more technology on the horizon, more data than ever before is being generated and submitted by vehicles and the devices within them.

Consequently, the question of data ownership, control, privacy and security must be considered.

Each party ideally wants to tap into these vast data flows in order to satisfy their individual, sometimes conflicting, needs and the expected fleet stakeholders and fast-moving technological businesses are jostling for position in this new connected world.

So, with the pace of evolving technology and fully autonomous vehicles on the horizon, what does the future hold?

At this stage it is difficult to predict exactly how and to what extent technology will disrupt the traditional fleet marketplace. But irrespective of the outcome, what all parties must do is ensure that, where applicable, the driver’s consent is sought either directly or through company policies and inter-party contractual agreements updated to reflect the volumes of data now being transmitted, who it is flowing to, what is contained within it, where and how it is stored and, importantly, how it will be used.

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