How the Auto Industry Must Utilize Big Data

Big data and IoT (the Internet of Things) will continue to play a pivotal role in the auto industry as technology like Tesla’s Autopilot and similar initiatives from Audi, Daimler, Google, and more show self-driving, data monitoring and data-driven response as increasing mainstays.

Vehicles with sensor technology communicate with networks to form a sort of augmented intelligence and behavior within the vehicle. This, in addition to the numerous benefits of data-driven monitoring, makes the future of the auto industry very exciting.

Big Data for Monitoring Vehicle Operations

Monitoring every facet of an automobile, from its internal engine to location and driving tendencies gives automobile manufacturers a clearer picture than ever regarding auto performance and driving behavior. A collection of aggregated data answers some questions that can improve future manufacturing efforts and provide numerous parties, such as auto insurance companies, with useful information that can make their practices more efficient and precise.

The numerous benefits of big data monitoring of vehicle operations provide manufacturers with a baseline for optimal vehicle performance. They can compare running vehicles with that baseline and notify automobile owners if something goes awry. IoT can be especially useful for fleets of vehicles, like trucking companies, that can ensure drivers are safe and on time. Consumers will have a better picture of their vehicle’s state, as well as an overview of their own driving patterns and areas to improve, whether it’s abiding to speed limits or braking with more precaution.

Big Data’s Impact on Roads and Infrastructure

The auto industry’s embrace of big data can improve roads and infrastructure. While traffic-avoiding technology exists on smartphones, it should be increasingly more accurate as sensors, and big data connection becomes more prominent. The potential to share traffic-related data with law enforcement can ensure prompt medical response when necessary. For example, sensors that detect a flipped car or collision could notify medical with GPS coordinates immediately, potentially saving lives and clearing traffic quickly.

Looking further, data can aid city planners and engineers to plan better traffic flows and roadways. Traffic lights could base their activity from a frequency of traffic in real-time. There are numerous ways big data could connect with roads and infrastructure to result in a safer, more efficient driving experience for everyone on the road.

Big Data and the Auto Insurance Industry

With data-driven analytics via sensors, insurance companies can see who is abusing their driving privilege. In the future, speed limits for most roads will be incorporated into big data and sensors showing drivers who deviate significantly from the rules of the road. While less attentive drivers may be wary of such a proposition, those who deem themselves safe and experienced drivers may embrace the notion of an insurance plan whose rate is influenced by this data.

Custom insurance could be a very real thing in the future. Data from connected cars can objectively prove whether someone is a safe driver and abides by the road rules. Also, accident liability can be determined more quickly and effectively using a combination of sensors and cameras to determine fault. From driver safety to accident information, big data and the IoT has the potential to make auto insurance more precise and personalized.

Challenges for Incorporating Big Data and IoT

Perhaps the biggest challenge for incorporating big data and IoT is privacy concerns among consumers. It’s understandable why drivers may not want their driving behavior and locations transmitted to the auto manufacturer, insurance companies, and law enforcement. While some consumers will recognize that sharing this data is better for the common goal of driving safer and more efficiently, others have a valid reason for concern.

There is also ample concern over hackers and their potential sabotaging of data-driven vehicles, which, though unlikely, could be fatal. Drivers can minimize cybersecurity risk by ensuring their vehicle software is up to date, being careful when making modifications, exercising discretion with third-party vehicles and never leaving their vehicle unlocked.

Privacy and cybersecurity top the list of possible concerns, but the benefits likely outweigh the fears. It’s likely that the technology will eventually be embraced, especially for a world that grows more comfortable with technology every day.

Megan Ray Nichols is a freelance technical writer and the editor of Schooled By Science. She enjoys writing about the latest news in technology, science, and manufacturing. When she isn't writing, Megan loves hiking, biking and going to the movies.