Experts have differing views on what to do with the mountain of data that is likely to be generated by autonomous vehicles when computers control much of our cars' functions in the future, particularly as Google moves closer to producing its own self-driving cars.
Maintaining the driver's privacy is key, Volvo r&d boss Peter Mertens said. "Data generated in the car belongs to driver, no debate," he said during a panel discussion on autonomous vehicles at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Brussels last month. He warned that doing anything else risked creating a "negative spin about the technology."
However, Peter Fuss, senior advisory partner for automotive at consultancy EY, said it would be a mistake to ring-fence all data that companies such as Google might use to help the motorist. "If you no longer have the steering wheel in your hands, you have more time [to do other things] in the car," Fuss said. "Google is making your life better. For example we could be shopping [while the car is traveling from one location to another]." Whatever happens, Karlheinz Haupt, Continental’s executive vice president of advance driver assistance systems, said people have to accept that the technology needed to make cars autonomous will result in some loss of privacy.