The Flourish Consortium, which tests driverless cars domestically, has urged the UK government to clarify who has access to data arising from cars which are connected via the internet. The consortium warns that restricting access to such data will limit opportunities that connectivity offers, such as providing more reliable insurance services and promptly alerting emergency services in the event of an accident. The report states, “Data collection is the cornerstone of the operation of connected and autonomous vehicles, and the importance of ensuring that this data can be used is clear.”
It is estimated that fully autonomous cars will produce four terabytes of data every day. Data uses include accessibility to traffic flow, as well as weather and road conditions. Data will also pave the way for more accurate insurance pricing, such as paying only according to the roads that have been driven on. A McKinsey study carried out in 2016 found that 71 per cent of consumers were willing to hand over their data in exchange for some kind of benefit, from in-car services to lower insurance bills. The use of this data will raise issues of data protection, especially in light of the growing prevalence of cyber-attacks. Furthermore, protection of privacy will also be a pertinent issue, and an appropriate balance between protecting data, and usability and effectiveness will be needed.