Tesla leads the way in data collection by automobile manufacturers


Every Tesla vehicle is a mobile data collector incorporating built-in sensors that constantly record information about the car's environment and the way the driver navigates through it. The result is to inspire established automakers such as General Motors, Volkswagen, and Nissan-Renault to follow suit by signing partnerships with Mobileye, a sensor supplier that will integrate its camera-based Road Experience Management system into their non-autonomous vehicles and begin a crowd-sourced mapping effort. Toyota has announced that it will create its own effort to turn their cars' onboard cameras into mapping sensors, and the self-driving startup Comma.ai includes a dashboard-mounted smartphone app hoping its drivers will agree to feed in their driving data. 

Tesla is also leading the way in testing the problems data collection will bring to the trust relationship between car manufacturers and their customers after several occasions where the company has publicly released information captured by the onboard sensors in the interests of proving that its driver assistance system is safe. In 2014, the Auto Alliance trade group drafted voluntary privacy principles, which many of the largest automakers signed. However, to date, privacy advocates have deemed the powerful data generation capabilities mismatched to the poor disclosure and weak opt-in regimes car manufacturers have do far made available. Lax legal standards are part of the problem, but consumers must demand better privacy standards.


Writer: Quartz
Publication: Quartz
Publication date: 2016-08-17

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