The sheer volume of software and artificial intelligence in new vehicles means new service and revenue streams are quickly emerging.
The big question now is whether automakers can profit off collectable driver data without alienating consumers.
“Carmakers recognise they’re fighting a war over customer data,” said Roger Lanctot to Bloomberg, who works with automakers on data monetisation as a consultant for Strategy Analytics. “Your driving behaviour, location, has monetary value, not unlike your search activity.”
Carmakers’ ultimate objective, Lanctot said, is to build a database of consumer preferences that could be aggregated and sold to outside vendors for marketing purposes, much like Google and Facebook do today.
Data collecting will allow auto manufacturers to create a better driving experience—enabling cars to predict flat tyres, find a parking space or charging station, or alert city managers to dangerous intersections where there are frequent accidents.
Data collection could also protect drivers from crime, Ford Motor Co.’s chief executive officer said last month at the Consumer Electric Show (CES).
The benefit there is hopefully an improved relationship, so we know you better, we understand you better and we’re able to deliver better services to you,” Don Butler, Ford’s executive director for connected vehicles and services, said in an interview in Las Vegas.
If consumers want to take advantage of these kinds of new connected features, especially making purchases while driving or using ride-hailing apps, they’ll have to give up at least some privacy, said Mike Abelson, vice president of strategy at GM. He said the company isn’t currently selling data to third parties.
“We’re not considering that,” he said. But he added: “I wouldn’t want to make a statement for forever.”