How much data does your car collect? More than you think

6 Apr 2017

Image: dolphfyn/Shutterstock

Cars are becoming more and more connected and, with that, harvesting more driver data than ever. But how much is actually collected?

The car you took to work this morning is adorned with sensors. The car you’ll take to work in five years’ time will, however, make today’s vehicle look like a horse and carriage.

We will one day be synced up to all transport, with user profiles, online management and a myriad of complementary services provided by driverless buses, shuttles, trains and cars, all awash with our data.

But do we truly understand what is being processed, even in today’s soon-to-be dated, early-stage connected cars?

According to a McKinsey & Company estimate, connected cars create up to 25GB of data per hour, which equates to dozens of movies stored in HD every 60 minutes.

Infographic: Big Data on Wheels | Statista

Infographic: Statista

Statista’s prediction for the growth in connected vehicles makes for an explosive industry, with 2016’s $16bn dwarfed by the prediction of nearly $82bn – between connected hardware, vehicle services and infotainment systems – by 2021.

And it’s not just connectivity at the front end, as manufacturers are relying on more and more robots, hooked up to the cloud to ensure efficiency and savings across the board.

General Motors has 30,000 robots in its production line. After it connected one-quarter up to the internet, improvements emerged everywhere.

By connecting these robots, manufacturers can order parts in real time as stocks dwindle, reducing the inventory and its peripheral needs, such as storage. This is all money saved.

The push for a driverless future, for example, needs a dramatic influx of innovation in the coming years.

Nissan, BMW and Audi represent some of the more active, traditional automotive companies pumping huge resources into this field. They have been joined by Airbus, adding an aeronautical dimension with optimistic plans for ‘air taxis’, and Tesla, pioneering an electric future.

The data you generate is only going to grow in the future. Perhaps the most interesting development will be when companies work out what to do with it all.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic