Posts Tagged data recorders

A Spy Under Your Hood. Your Data And Who’s Going To Get It.

Posted by on Sunday, 24 November, 2013
Humorous cartoon about black boxes in cars

The Car That Knew Too Much

A GREAT DATA SUCKING SOUND

Almost all new cars now have “black box” event recorders. They collect data about the way the vehicle is driven.

Lots of data.

The black boxes were originally placed there to help make life/death decisions about when and how air bags should be deployed based on what’s happening in the car at the time of a crash. But the data can be used for other stuff too.

If there’s an accident and the accident was caused by bad brakes, there’s an opportunity to learn from that. Brakes will get better.

That’s a good thing. But I should warn you. This is a step in the “data wars”.

INSURANCE AND YOUR BLACK BOX

eSurance offers you you a big discount on premiums. All you have to do is add its gadget to your car.  “Drivesense” uploads the data from your car to its own database and then let’s you review your driving and learn from it. The hitch? Your folks get to review your driving and learn from it too. If things go good – if the gadget shows that you’re the right kind of driver – eSurance will reduce your premiums by up to 30 percent.

Would they use this data to raise your premiums?

Never, they say.

But what if you have an accident? Would eSurance deny a claim based on what is learned from Drivesense?

What do you think?

After an accident, automotive event recorders “lock down” the details of what was happening. I already described how car makers plan to use it to improve future designs.

With a court order, others can get it too. Even though it’s your car, the other party in the accident may be able to use the information from your black box against you.

Some people find that annoying as hell.

What else?

YOUR CAR’S BLACK BOX AND YOUR TAXES

Could automotive event records be used to raise revenue for government? Maybe charge a tax based on miles driven?

Some states are on it. Congress might be too.

I’m serious.

The thinking is that by sticking it to.. scuse me – by taxing miles driven, maybe there’s an opportunity here to make drivers think twice about eco-friendly alternatives. Trains, bicycles, subways.

Did I mention that it might also be an excuse to just plain raise more taxes?

CAR TO CAR DATA SWAPPING

David Shamah (Tel Aviv Tech writing in ZD Net) discusses the biggest plan for all this data. Inter-vehicular connectivity. GM’s vision – and that of others in the industry – is that cars will be part of an enormous public network that swaps data back and forth between vehicles and other infrastructure to prevent accidents and optimize driving efficiency. This could certainly be the data backbone of self driving cars.

Typically, the event recorders are located under the drivers seat. Getting at it is a pain since it’s usually under the carpet. Although I haven’t seen it, I imagine mine with the words PANDORA scrawled across the top.

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The drawing is mine.