3 ways sensor data is changing the auto industry – Automotive World | CarTailz

Car companies today are software companies where data is the currency of the empire. By Marc Huijbregts

By 2030, almost 95% of new vehicles sold worldwide will be connected, sharing internet access and data with other devices inside and outside the vehicle. In the near future, the volume of data being transferred between these connected vehicles and the cloud through sensors and associated software will be close to 100 petabytes per month. Otonomo, a platform for car data services, predicted that each connected vehicle produces 25GB of data per hour.

Where is the automotive industry? With an influx of data and the potential value that comes with it. Using this data will transform the way they do business. Car companies today are software companies where data is the currency of the empire.

There are first signs that car data can be used sensibly. For example, in 2017 Volvo introduced Care, the first subscription model to use new data sources to bundle a car, maintenance and insurance into one monthly subscription fee. Last year, Mercedes partnered with London, England to explore how connected vehicle data could improve safety on city streets.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. As sensor technologies continue to advance, leading automotive companies are beginning to transform in three major ways.

Volvo Care used new data sources to bundle a car, maintenance and insurance into one monthly subscription

From manufacturing to mobility

Outside of Tesla, most auto companies weren’t “born in the cloud.” But even established players with decades – and in some cases over a century – of experience are now adopting innovative technologies to stay relevant and competitive. Two current examples that illustrate this change are Bosch and Denso.

In 2005, Bosch (founded in 1886) began manufacturing sensors for consumer electronics. Since then, it has recognized the IoT opportunities and grown the business accordingly. Through its Mobility Products and Services group, Bosch now offers sensor solutions to global automakers that enable autonomous driving, active safety functions, and predictive maintenance. These sensor solutions generate a continuous stream of vast amounts of data and, once analyzed at scale, can be used to create new business opportunities. For example, an automobile manufacturer can collect and analyze data from car sensors and share that data with insurance providers to change the way insurance policies are created.

Similarly, Denso has a large portfolio of legacy products and services from its initial auto parts business, but has recently become a mobility solution provider that connects vehicles to IoT. bDenso produces an edge computing platform that connects vehicles to cloud networks to offer new services. The architecture replicates real urban environments and traffic conditions in a virtual space; collects the data and then analyzes it to anticipate traffic problems. The data is used by service providers, including administrative authorities and service workshops, to facilitate repairs and maintenance work. This allows mobility service providers to analyze data and securely control vehicles from the cloud, matching vehicles with the right services and ultimately reducing service times and costs.

Bosch mobility solutions
The Bosch Mobility Solutions web portal presents highlights from the areas of connected mobility, automated mobility, drive systems and electrified mobility

Denso believes that the only way to avoid accidents is to equip all forms of mobility with safety technology – from sensors that detect traffic patterns, environmental conditions and even a driver’s state of health, to algorithms and control systems that make split-second decisions be able.

Driving new innovations

Vehicle sensors are also used in other modes of transport such as long-distance transport. Aurora, a self-driving vehicle company, is developing technology that can be integrated into cars and trucks to enable autonomous driving capabilities.

The company’s technology platform, the Aurora Driver, consists of sensors that perceive the world, software that traces a safe path through it, and the computer that powers both and integrates them into the vehicle. Rather than being dependent on one sensor type for self-driving technology, Aurora combines the strengths of different sensor types – high-resolution cameras, 4-D imaging radar, and its custom LiDAR technology, which enables trucks to go farther and travel more safely at high speeds – to create a more reliable system. They then license the technology to self-driving fleet companies so they can store the data, analytics and insights of every mile driven across all vehicle fleets.

Development of new sources of income

General Motors was one of the first traditional automakers to collect data on connected vehicles with the launch of OnStar in 1996. A key by-product of OnStar is that it provides various driver behavior data that GM can monetize. In 2021, GM reported that it had 20 million connected cars on the road in 47 countries, leading to massive amounts of data and potential new revenue opportunities. One such opportunity is OnStar Insurance, a user-based insurance service that focuses on things like individual vehicle usage and rewards for safe driving habits. Using embedded vehicle sensors, OnStar Insurance tracks vehicle usage and driving habits and uses this data to offer rebates and incentives to drivers who practice safe driving.

OnStar Insurance
OnStar Insurance reflects a shift to an integrated, data-driven auto insurance model

OnStar Insurance is just one of about 20 startups GM has planned to double annual sales by 2030. GM projects annual software and services revenue opportunities of between $20 billion and $25 billion with an estimated 30 million connected vehicles by the end of the decade. The OnStar connectivity platform has more than 16 million connected vehicles on the road today, with software and services generating estimated $2 billion in annual revenue, according to GM. OnStar Insurance is a key part of that growth, as GM projects it has a potential revenue opportunity of more than $6 billion annually by the end of the decade.

As the vehicle evolves from a mere mode of transportation to a product that offers new services and value through cloud network connections, the automotive industry must act quickly to reap the benefits—sales, profits, customer retention, and more—harnessing new sources of information about the vehicle entire life cycle of the automotive value chain.


About the author: Marc Huijbregts is Global IoT Lead at WANdisco

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