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Connected cars: Data sharing opens a can of worms

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Penny Searles shares her views on how the emergence of the connected cars has opened up a real can of worms around data privacy, collection and storage. 

It’s not just in fleet, I fear many private car owners with such vehicles are also giving away their data without any real understanding or, more importantly, any real benefit or services in return.

I think Angela Montacute’s point in an article, ‘Connected car data proposals could threaten fleets’ SMR choice’, about being able to provide a combined experience to the end-user, employing telematics and connected technology, goes to the heart of the matter. 

Montacute said that with increasing regulation, particularly General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), “we cannot take for granted that end-users will give us this data”. 

This is the driver’s or the fleet owner’s data and they must benefit from sharing it.

The connected car has some great benefits. For example, it can read out messages and send replies on command. It can receive calendar updates and alert to a change of meeting venue as well as providing a new route if necessary.

But there is more. Through connectivity the car has the ability to communicate with other vehicles and organisations – including the emergency services. 

It can instantly report a collision, its severity and exact location, saving precious time for bluelight services in a life-threatening situation. 

It could talk to its driver to let them know as soon as a fault occurs and where the nearest garage is.

When a breakdown occurs, the car should be able to tell the roadside assistance provider precisely where it is. If a connected car is stolen, the location can be tracked, allowing police to find it.

But, as we also know, the connected car is giving motor manufacturers valuable information about the way in which the car is being used. 

It’s time to take back some power and remove the reliance on manufacturers for data.

Connected services for fleets have clear benefits for the driver and access to the data for the fleet manager, allowing both to take control and take advantage of connected technology. 

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