Automakers Protect Driver Data From Apple Inc., Google Inc

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Manufacturers are holding back driver data gathered by in-car technology systems from technology partners Apple and Google.

In-car systems linked to smartphones gather valuable data about what people do in their cars, and automakers are being careful not to give away the information, which they hope will generate valuable income in the future, according to Reuters.

Automakers protecting driver data from technology partners

Strategies for monetizing the data are in the early stages, and carmakers are anxious to prevent the driver data being used by Google and Apple. The technology giants have in-car systems known as Android Auto and CarPlay respectively, and some carmakers have expressed a desire to protect certain information.

“We need to control access to that data,” said Don Butler, executive director of connected vehicle and services at Ford Motor Co. “We need to protect our ability to create value” from vehicle data.

General Motors believes that $350 million in revenue could be generated over three years from data connections in its cars, and Alix Partners believe global revenues could reach $40 billion a year by 2018.

As well as Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto, carmakers are also working on their own systems, which would enable them to control the business model for any driver data collected.

So far consumers have not been consulted on the sharing of their data, and regulators may well see fit to restrict data collection and sharing.

Monetizing driver data: a profitable revenue stream

Policies on data sharing with technology partners varies with different automakers. Although GM is integrating infotainment systems, it is doing so without “any outgoing data or shared revenue.”

A VW spokesperson said Apple and Google had “asked for more data than we were willing to share,” but that the automaker is more open to collaboration and is providing access to “data points that are important to providing the best apps performance and user experience.”

Apple released a statement in which it specified that CarPlay data “is anonymized, not connected with other Apple services, and is not stored by Apple.” For its part Google offers drivers the choice of sharing data with it and third-party app providers.

Monetizing driver data could provide a hugely profitable new revenue stream for automakers, and they are rightly concerned by the threat of technology partners using it for their own ends.

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About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at [email protected]

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