Big Data and Automakers are Still Miles Apart

At Issue:

The aver­age car on the road today gen­er­ates a mind-bog­gling amount of data. With sen­sors mon­i­tor­ing every­thing from tire pres­sure to engine RPM to oil tem­per­a­ture and speed, cars can pro­duce any­where from 5 to 250 giga­bytes of data an hour.

“Most peo­ple don’t under­stand what makes data big,” says Scott McCormick, pres­i­dent of the Con­nect­ed Vehi­cle Trade Asso­ci­a­tion and indus­try advis­er to the U.S. Sec­re­tary of Trans­porta­tion. “A car may pro­duce an exabyte of data a year (a bil­lion giga­bytes), but most is com­plete­ly mean­ing­less. Iso­lat­ing the megabyte of data a month that’s real­ly valu­able, and then fig­ur­ing out what you can do with it, that’s the chal­lenge of Big Data.”

So the ques­tion is: Why aren’t more automak­ers cap­i­tal­iz­ing on the val­ue con­tained in Big Data?

The Back­sto­ry:

The vast major­i­ty of this data is used in real time to con­trol or report on the func­tions of the vehi­cle and has no real long-term val­ue. But some of the data is valu­able, and if you mul­ti­ply that frac­tion by the bil­lion cars on the road today, it doesn’t take more than basic arith­metic to under­stand why Big Data is attract­ing so much atten­tion in the auto­mo­tive space – and should be more uti­lized by the automak­ers them­selves.

What Car­mak­ers Can Do With Big Data – Help­ing Deal­ers & Cus­tomers:

On the sim­plest lev­el, pro­cess­ing Big Data effec­tive­ly allows OEMs to iden­ti­fy and respond to sys­tem-wide prob­lems in a faster and more-cost effec­tive man­ner.

A Case in Point:

Take a stan­dard 2013 mod­el vehi­cle with an info­tain­ment sys­tem in the dash­board. And let’s imag­ine it fea­tures a weath­er app that dis­plays the lat­est fore­cast. Only today, the dri­ver gets in her car and dis­cov­ers the app is frozen. All she can see is sun­shine from the week­end, even though it’s Mon­day, and rain clouds out­side her wind­shield are spelling rain.

In a non-Big-Data world, if the prob­lem per­sists, our dri­ver has to head into the deal­er­ship to get the weath­er app fixed, as does every oth­er dri­ver who’s expe­ri­enc­ing the same prob­lem. If the prob­lem were seri­ous enough (imag­ine the info­tain­ment glitch caus­es engine fail­ure), it could lead to a recall, which would rep­re­sent a sig­nif­i­cant cost bur­den for the OEM and incon­ve­nience and frus­tra­tion for the cus­tomer.

Big Data won’t nec­es­sar­i­ly do any­thing for our dri­ver on that over­cast Mon­day morn­ing. What it will do is allow the OEM to see if this prob­lem is occur­ring in a cer­tain region or is com­mon across all regions. Fur­ther­more, it will allow the OEM to detect if a spe­cif­ic sequence of activ­i­ties or pat­terns of fail­ures is trig­ger­ing the glitch, with­out recall­ing all of the prob­lem­at­ic cars or wait­ing for them to come into the deal­er­ship. In this case, per­haps our dri­ver changed a chan­nel on her Inter­net radio app, then went to the weath­er app, and the inter­ac­tion of the two apps some­how caused the sys­tem to freeze.

What Does Automak­er Big Data Mean For the Deal­er­ship?

Big Data opens up a more proac­tive stance than the wait-until-trouble-strikes-and-we’ll-quickly-mitigate-the-problem approach.

Lever­ag­ing Big Data to under­stand how cus­tomers actu­al­ly use their prod­ucts.

For more on the subject,Visit Telem­at­ics Update and  see Q&A: Per­son­al­iz­ing the con­nect­ed car expe­ri­ence and Video: Telem­at­ics and big data.

 

 

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