What is Automotive Data & How to Use It

What is Automotive Data?

Motor vehicles contain a wealth of information. Most of this vehicle data is of a technical nature and exists only temporarily and is only useful locally within your car. This kind of car data is not stored. But certain types of vehicle data can be utilized to provide services. Connected cars provide insight into driver behaviour and vehicle health. Connected vehicles allows sharing of some of this car data with third parties from existing and emerging markets. Automotive Data is opening up new opportunities for entrepreneurs and companies, allowing service providers to provide new services or to improve existing services. Automotive Data can be used to improve driving experiences, to increase comfort for the driver, to optimize products and services, and contribute towards goals such as improving road safety and reducing fuel consumption. The type of data vehicles generate depends on the brand of vehicle and even within brands from model to model. Automotive Data that is collected might include vehicle data on: tyre pressure, vehicle speed, mileage, fuel consumption, oil level, engine status, battery charge status, steering angle, outside temperature of the vehicle. Only a small amount of vehicle data is of relevance to third party providers.

Automotive Data doesn’t include data from vehicle users, (other than that freely given), such as mobile phone contact lists or selected destinations for travel, or any data from outside sources, such as other vehicles, other road users or roadside units. Vehicle owners have the right to decide with whom they share their any personal data and for what purposes. This is covered by EU data protection legislation and must be on the basis of a contract with the customer, with the prior consent of a customer and comply with legal obligations. There are advantages to drivers’ in sharing their car data with third party service providers. Today’s cars are increasingly connected, in that they can shares Automotive Data wirelessly between vehicles, road users, vehicle manufacturers and third party service providers.

Who uses Automotive Data and for what use cases?

The opportunities for Automotive Data generated driver services are endless. Third party providers may use Automotive data to suggest optimum and safest routes so drivers can avoid traffic jams. Vehicle service providers can ‘predict’ when your vehicle is likely to need maintenance or repair.

Service providers can provide information on services such as hotels and restaurants nearby. Third party can provide ‘smart parking’ information. Drivers may be able to automatically pay for parking and tolls. Drivers may be provided with tailored entertainment and other services while on-route.

Drivers may be able to automatically contact emergency services in the case of an accident. Insurers may offer lower insurance for ‘monitored’ vehicles. Drivers may be able to access tools on the go to make the car an extension of their home or office.

As more cars become connected and Automotive Data increases, third parties are increasingly interested in accessing and using this data to provide services. Services such as garage and breakdown services, insurance companies parking garages fleet service providers, financial services, and road infrastructure operators. Interested parties include non-traditional automotive services such as entertainment and travel-service providers, social networks and search engine operators. Sharing Automotive Data with such parties can improve the driving experience for vehicle users. Plus, with the use of neutral servers, vehicle users have more choice. They can obtain information on relevant services from various vehicle service providers, rather than relying on those recommended by the manufacturer. But not everyone understands how to use Automotive Data to improve their business. New products especially, like EVs (electric vehicles) could benefit from utilizing Automotive Data more than they are at present. Automotive data would help there with management, subscription-based charging, delivery and parking, among other applications.

Mobile apps only go so far towards solving problems such as parking. Parking apps usually limit drivers to a particular car park. Drivers still have to have to find the correct car park they are signed up to through an app, and pay either manually or through the mobile app.

But what if someone automatically paid parking fees for you, no matter where you decided to park? That is one solution being employed by a service provider using Automotive Data. The service provider, tracking registered vehicles through Automotive Data, can tell when the vehicles are parked, and also if fees are due at the site. The service provider’s Automotive Data system is set up to automatically pay the fees to the carpark. Thus allowing vehicle drivers to park without worry at any parking site. No more searching for a particular car park in a strange town. Or getting to the carpark supported by your mobile app and finding it full and having to search for another. Instead you just park and go, and fees are taken care of automatically. Doesn’t that make life a little easier? This is just one of the multiple uses Automatic Data can be employed for.

Part of the reason Automotive Data is not being fully utilized is that it is still in its early days. But as more cars become connected every day, more Automotive Data also comes on line every day. It is estimated there will be 255 million connected cars on the road by the end of 2020. Service providers will need to become better educated and more knowledgeable about the benefits Automotive Data can bring to their business in order to offer new services and remain competitive.

What are typical Automotive Data attributes?

Typical Automotive Data attributes include: description, equipment, year, model, manufacturer, features, technical specifications such as horsepower and MPGs, factory warranty, MSRP, OEM internal and external colours, green data, safety features, speed, location, fuel consumption, any awards and accolades, among others.

How is Automotive Data typically collected?

Automotive Data may be collected by an off-board facility. This is a remote and safe server from which third party service providers can access Automotive Data, rather than having to directly access data from a moving car. The off-board facility operates in accordance with clearly defined technical data protection and competition rules and acts as a gatekeeper, minimizing safety, security and liability risks. These neutral servers can facilitate data access to third parties by offering multi-brand data access on one server, cutting out the need for third parties to use multiple servers from different manufacturers.

Vehicle manufacturers may share Automotive data with third party service providers. But manufacturers need to ensure it is shared in a way that won’t endanger the safe and secure functioning of the vehicle and that the car user’s personal data remains protected. Sharing Automation Data must not affect the liability of the manufacturer. Whether Automotive data is obtained from the manufacturer’s server or a neutral one, it should be provided in a fully transparent and anonymous manner, to help contribute to innovation and foster fair and open competition. Service providers can have fair and reasonable access to the data they need to offer their services to vehicle users. Any information that is available to a manufacturer’s network of vehicle repairers will be made available on the same conditions to third parties that offer competing services. The Automotive data will be of the same type, amount and quality of data, at the same time, at the same price.

How to assess the quality of Automotive Data?

It is important to ensure that Automotive Data acquired is of good quality. Automotive Data that is of poor quality is at minimum inaccurate and of no use to your company, and at worst, harmful to your business. It is necessary to ensure the Automotive Data you acquire is accurate, up-to-date and as error free as possible.

There are several steps users can take to ensure the quality of the Automotive Data they purchase, such as:

  • Obtaining the Automotive Data directly from the manufacturer’s server
  • Obtaining the Automotive Data from a reputable neutral server
  • Regularly testing Automotive Data for errors and duplications

How is Automotive Data typically priced?

Most Automotive Data providers have several pricing models, depending on the complexity of the data you want to purchase and the size of your business. Quite often however, we see the payment being made by monthly subscriptions that give access to the data on the provider’s servers.

What are the common challenges when buying Automotive Data?

There are several common challenges to be considered when purchasing Automotive Data such as security and compliance. Ensuring security is necessary and can be facilitated with a highly secure system to fight data threats. Reputable suppliers should have compliance protocols in place.

Another challenge is ensuring systems are capable of maximum integration, as the more layers of integration you have, the more efficient the analysis of reports will be. Your existing staff may need new training to manage any new analytics system.

What to ask Automotive Data providers?

There are several questions you should consider asking an Automotive Data provider if you are considering purchasing and Automotive Data system, such as:

  • How does the Automotive Data analysis system integrate with existing systems?
  • Is it secure and compliant?
  • Will existing staff need training for new data analytics technologies?
  • How often is the dataset/database updated?

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