Car­mak­ers refuse to share data

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

SAN FRAN­CISCO — Au­tomak­ers are lim­it­ing the amount of data they share with tech­nol­ogy part­ners Ap­ple and Google through new sys­tems that link smart phones to in-ve­hi­cle in­fo­tain­ment sys­tems.

The idea is to de­fend ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion about what driv­ers do in their cars.

Auto com­pa­nies hope that such ve­hi­cle data will one day gen­er­ate bil­lions of dol­lars in e-com­merce, though they are just be­gin­ning to form strate­gies to mon­e­tise that in­for­ma­tion.

No data Ap­ple and Google al­ready make money from own­ers of smart phones by pro­vid­ing prod­ucts and ser­vices from dig­i­tal mu­sic to tar­geted advertising and con­nect­ing phones to car sys­tems will al­most cer­tainly ex­tend their reach.

How­ever, as in­fo­tain­ment sys­tems such as Ap­ple’s Carplay and Google’s An­droid Auto be­come more wide­spread, auto com­pa­nies hope to keep tech providers from gain­ing ac­cess to a wealth of po­ten­tially prof­itable in­for­ma­tion col­lected by in-car com­puter sys­tems.

Some auto com­pa­nies have specif­i­cally said they will not pro­vide Ap­ple and Google with data from a ve­hi­cle’s func­tional sys­tems — steer­ing, brakes and throt­tle, for in­stance — as well as in­for­ma­tion about range, a mea­sure of how far the car can travel be­fore it runs out of fuel.

Don But­ler, Ford’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of con­nected ve­hi­cle and ser­vices, said: “We need to con­trol ac­cess to that data. We need to pro­tect our abil­ity to cre­ate value from new dig­i­tal ser­vices built on ve­hi­cle data.”

Huge stakes The stakes are po­ten­tially huge: Gen­eral Mo­tors told in­vestors early in 2015 that it ex­pected to re­alise an ad­di­tional $350-mil­lion (about M4.2-bil­lion) in rev­enue over three years from the high-speed data con­nec­tions it is build­ing into its cars.

Con­sul­tant Alix­part­ners es­ti­mates global rev­enues from dig­i­tally con­nected cars will grow in value to $40-bil­lion (about M480-bil­lion) a year world­wide by 2018 from $16-bil­lion (about M190-bil­lion) in 2013 and auto com­pa­nies would like to keep as much of that money as pos­si­ble.

Fried­mar Rumpel, vice-pres­i­dent in Alix­part­ners’ automotive prac- tice, said: “The risk is, if you give up con­trol and some­body else fig­ures out that busi­ness model, then you lose the fu­ture rev­enue stream.”

Auto com­pa­nies hope to profit from in-ve­hi­cle data in a va­ri­ety of ways, among them the pro­vi­sion of travel plan­ning ser­vices and auto re­pairs and ser­vice in­for­ma­tion they hope will bring driv­ers to deal­ers.

They also ex­pect to work with in­sur­ance com­pa­nies by pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion to let in­sur­ers to base their rates on a driver’s be­hav­iour at the wheel.

While many au­tomak­ers have signed up to use Carplay and An­droid Auto, sys­tems de­signed to make it eas­ier and safer for driv­ers to use the apps and fea­tures on their smart phones while driv­ing, some car com­pa­nies also have de­signed their own sys­tems.

Ford is in­stalling a pro­pri­etary sys­tem, Sync 3, in its cars to work with and sup­ple­ment Carplay and An­droid Auto.

Audi wants to de­velop and li­cense its own brand-spe­cific apps while at­tract­ing third-party pro­gram­mers to cre­ate and cus­tomise car­spe­cific apps.

Mathias Hal­liger, a se­nior sys­tems ar­chi­tect for con­nected ve­hi­cle tech­nol­ogy at Audi, ex­plained: “This en­ables a busi­ness model that be­longs com­pletely to the au­tomaker.”

Unan­swered ques­tions Still to be an­swered, how­ever, are ques­tions about how com­fort­able con­sumers will be with shar­ing their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion from the ve­hi­cle; state and fed­eral reg­u­la­tors could im­pose lim­its on data-gath­er­ing and shar­ing.

Mean­while, poli­cies on data ac­cess and shar­ing dif­fer from com­pany to com­pany. Sev­eral au­tomak­ers said they were shar­ing min­i­mal ve­hi­cle in­for­ma­tion that di­rectly af­fects the per­for­mance of third-party in­fo­tain­ment sys­tems - for ex­am­ple:

GPS co-or­di­nates to en­able nav­i­ga­tion.

In­for­ma­tion about whether the fa­cia in­for­ma­tion screen is in day or

‘More than will­ing to share’ VW says it is treat­ing the tech com­pa­nies more as strate­gic part­ners and is be­ing more open in terms of data ac­cess - a stance dif­fer­ent to that of sis­ter brand Audi which makes such de­ci­sions on its own and has re­stricted ac­cess to ve­hi­cle data.

A VW spokesper­son said Ap­ple and Google had “asked for more data than we were will­ing to share” but ad­mit­ted that the au­tomaker was “pro­vid­ing ac­cess to data points needed to pro­vide the best apps per­for­mance and user ex­pe­ri­ence”.

Thilo Koslowski, vice-pres­i­dent and automotive prac­tice leader at con­sul­tant Gart­ner, said: “The car com­pa­nies recog­nise that Ap­ple and Google can glean a wealth of in­for­ma­tion from mo­bile de­vices that users bring into a car. As for Ap­ple’s and Google’s in­ter­est in con­nect­ing with driv­ers, it’s all about ty­ing you in to their ecosys­tems.”

Ap­ple says it is col­lect­ing only lim­ited data to en­hance in-car ser­vices of­fered through Carplay, such as GPS in­for­ma­tion from the ve­hi­cle to make Ap­ple Maps as ac­cu­rate as pos­si­ble.

A state­ment from Ap­ple read: “As with all of our prod­ucts, Carplay is built from the ground up to pro­tect your pri­vacy us­ing the same in­dus­try-lead­ing safe­guards al­ready at work on iphones.

“All the data is anonymised, not con­nected with other Ap­ple ser­vices, and is not stored by Ap­ple, so no­body can build a pro­file about the driver or his trav­els.”

Driv­ers to de­cide Google says its aim is to in­te­grate data from the car with fea­tures on An­droid Auto “for an im­proved driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence”. With Google’s An­droid Auto, the driver is asked to agree to share user-gen­er­ated data with Google and third-party app providers, a Google spokesper­son said.

Ve­hi­cle own­ers who brought their mo­bile de­vice with them could elect whether or not to con­nect those de­vices in­side the car.

— Reuters.

SEV­ERAL au­tomak­ers are re­fus­ing to share some in-car data with Ap­ple and Google for their in-car app sys­tems.

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