Big data to bring big money to car manufacturers

Current and future models of motor vehicles will come with an array of sensors that can transmit information about how a vehicle is operated, how it performs, the conditions it faces on the road and the behavior and preferences of drivers and passengers.

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Image via Pixabay, CC 2.0.

WASHINGTON, December 30, 2016 — Big data equals big money for today’s automobile manufacturers. Current and future models of motor vehicles will come with an array of sensors that can transmit information about how a vehicle is operated, how it performs, the conditions it faces on the road and the behavior and preferences of drivers and passengers.

Cars of the future will record and relay data from sensors to the internet. Manufacturers will have opportunity to use the vast amounts of information transmitted to provide a better, safer, and even more comfortable experience with your car.

The data provided to automobile manufacturers will help fuel a potential $750 billion market. At the center of this market will be self-driving cars, which will consume and provide an ever expanding ocean of data. The result will be a comfortable, effortless ride that allows passengers to convert the vehicle to a center for entertainment or work.

Wherever automated features can be improved or enhanced, the opportunity for revenue growth also exists.


Some ways in which big data might be used include improved risk calculations by insurance companies. Telecommunications companies will integrate vehicles and smartphones. Because the car will be a mobile computer—essentially a robot with passengers—there will be a need for a whole new family of operating systems. Apple, Google and Microsoft will vie for dominance there, but new firms may arise to challenge them.

Vehicles will be controlled by non-connected artificial intelligence. This allows the system to run without the internet, important where no internet is available or where bandwidth is low. This is known as “fog computing” and is still in its infancy.

Because the operation of an AI will demand vast amounts of data, car makers will need to provide data storage. But if the data are downloaded from the internet, there may be data fees like those now common in cell phone plans. This makes anti-hacking and antivirus software essential, another market opportunity.

One company nearing the goal of creating a commercially viable self-driving car is Toyota, through its luxury brand, Lexus. Lexus anticipates having a self-driving car ready by the year 2020. They are designing their system for highway driving and will offer a button allowing the user/owner to switch from manual driving to computer control.

As the current Lexus RX-350 contains many new sensor and safety features, the self-driving 2020 vehicle will in some ways be a natural extension of current systems. It is also unlikely to be truly autonomous. That is not the ultimate goal for Lexus, however, which wishes to integrate the functions and features of self-driving vehicles to resembles the familiar cruise control option in many current cars.

Upon getting into a driverless car, passengers may enjoy a wide range of entertainment options, including music and movies for a pay-per-use or subscription fee. The retail opportunities potentially available to a car full of passengers exposed to the right advertising at the right time are potentially enormous. Some examples include integrated special offer advertising through programs and entertainment options, integrated via the internet, enabling advertised products to be purchased from the vehicle or even ordered and picked up while riding in the autonomous automobile.

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