Report: Future Cars Likely to Sell Customer Data

Feb. 21, 2018
Car companies, in an effort to unleash new revenue streams, may eventually begin utilizing in-car advertising software.

Feb. 21, 2018—Car companies, in an effort to unleash new revenue streams, may begin utilizing in-car advertising software relatively soon, a recent Fortune article noted.

Companies like Telenav, a company that develops in-car advertising software, could lead the charge.

The volume of software sensors in new vehicles, paired with artificial intelligence that can sort through data quicker and quicker these days, means new services and revenue streams are quickly emerging. Now, a question remains: can automakers profit off all the driver data they’re able to collect, without angering customers?

“Carmakers recognize they’re fighting a war over customer data,” said Roger Lanctot, who works with automakers on data monetization as a consultant for Strategy Analytics. “Your driving behavior, 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 vendors for marketing purposes, similar to what Google and Facebook do currently.

Auto executives, meanwhile, emphasize that data-crunching will allow them to build a better driving experience, which could enable vehicles to predict flat tires, or find charging stations, for example.

The Federal Trade Commission has jurisdiction over consumer data and privacy, but there are no current, specific rules for the auto industry, according to Lauren Smith, a policy lawyer at the non-profit Future of Privacy Forum. Instead, automakers came up with their own set of privacy principles, which are enforceable by the FTC.

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