Cars may be next to gather our data

Solihull News - - IT TALK - BY DAVE PINWELL

THERE are in­di­ca­tions that our cars might, in time, be­come as nosey as our phones about what we get up to.

Com­men­ta­tors on the Net are look­ing at the amount of data ‘ con­nected cars’ are col­lect­ing and pon­der­ing where that might lead to.

Sys­tems in­tended to pro­vide man­u­fac­tur­ers feed­back about per­for­mance and al­low re­mote soft­ware up­dates are, it seems, be­ing seen as hav­ing other po­ten­tial fu­ture uses.

Last year, Gen­eral Mo­tors un­der­took a pi­lot in the US track­ing the ra­dio lis­ten­ing habits of 90,000 of its con­nected car driv­ers. It has been spec­u­lated that GM has a con­cept of us­ing the car for tar­get­ing ad­ver­tis­ing as a rev­enue gen­er­at­ing wheeze.

Lat­est hi- tech cars are rid­dled with cam­eras and sen­sors, both out­ward and in­ward fac­ing.

The­o­ret­i­cally, a car can tell its man­u­fac­turer what pub car parks its driver stops in and read the brand names from shop­ping dropped in the pas­sen­ger seat.

In­for­ma­tion like this could al­low a pic­ture of driver pref­er­ences to be built up and used to in­form which ads are heard be­tween mu­sic tracks or pop up in in­creas­ingly so­phis­ti­cated dash­board dis­play screens. “Feel­ing thirsty? There is a drive- in Costa in 400 yards”.

A car can carry a lot more com­put­ing power than a smart­phone and own­ers of con­nected cars gen­er­ally sign terms and con­di­tions of data use, which are a pre- req­ui­site of us­ing the on- board sys­tems, with­out read­ing the reams of small print.

Mean­while, I reckon a car ask­ing you to ‘ please rate the Al­bert Street Car Park for the ben­e­fit of other driv­ers’ could be even more ir­ri­tat­ing than a phone de­mand­ing to know ‘ how was the Ben­gal Tan­doori?’

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