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Connected Cars Raise Interest, Privacy Concerns

I’ve been hearing a lot about connected cars for the past week. The folks over at Quartz recently provide this rundown of the various ideas technology companies are coming up with to help keep drivers from being so distracted by new technology.

Quartz lists a number of company’s working on different forms of user interfaces. Swedish company Tobii is working on eye-tracking technology, while Ask Ziggy is targeting a voice interface. SoftKinetic is proposing a gesture control system, although frankly I’m not sure that’s any safer than having drivers actually look at a screen. Meanwhile, Ford and GM both announced open development plans for their own connected car programs.

Interest in connected car technology is growing, says a new report from Nielsen, which is why so many tech companies are targeting the space. According to the report, one in five drivers aware of the connected vehicle concept are already driving one of them. Key features connected car drivers want: Internet-enabled navigation, safety alerts, vehicle diagnostics, and entertainment connectivity.

With increased connectivity, and with automakers gathering data from their fleets, there are also concerns about privacy. AAA has drafted a sort-of consumer privacy “bill of rights” for vehicle data, which was unveiled during the Consumer Electronics Show. The Consumer Rights for Car Data document states that consumers should understand what information is being collected and how it is being used; that consumers have a right to decide with whom to share data; and that they have a right to expect OEMs and service providers to use “reasonable measures” to protect data systems and services against unauthorized access.

The federal government is also getting in on the privacy act. The Government Accountability Office issued a report at the end of last year indicating that 10 manufacturers surveyed collected and shared location data of customers. Sen. Al Franken (D., MN) sent a letter to Ford Motor Co. asking for an explanation about what the company does with that information. Franken has proposed a bill to regulate that data collection, according to this story over at the Wall Street Journal.

Sources: QuartzWall Street Journal

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Brian Albright's avatar
Brian Albright

Brian Albright is the editorial director of Digital Engineering. Contact him at [email protected].

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