Big Data And Connected Cars Will Disrupt The Car Industry

Connected Cars

In order to stay relevant and thrive in one of the most dynamic industries to date that is big data, one has to make the most of the mass data. By understandig your customers, identifying market opportunities and anticipating relevant developments you are ensuring that your business stays at the top. However, this can be achieved only if you successfully manage the four key attributes of big data:

  • Volume: the quantity of data to be captured continues to grow exponentially.
  • Velocity: bits and bytes have to be processed at high speed.
  • Variety: data comes in many formats, from diverse sources.
  • Value: data needs to be converted into meaningful insights.

The continued mass data revolution is beginning to spread beyond the technology sector to other parts of the world economy with transformative effects. Nowhere is this change more dramatic than in the automotive industry, where the rise of the connected car is changing the way we view transportation, luxury, safety, and data. To leverage this new development and gain access to data, more and more vehicles are being fitted with sensors and connectivity solutions. In fact, in a case study made by Oliver Wyman management consultants, it is estimated that 80% of all cars sold in 2016 will be connected.

The Google car generates approximately 1GB of data every second. To put things in perspective, consider that on average Americans spend around 600 hours in the car per year. If everybody drove a connected car today that would amount to approximately 2 Petabytes of data per car per year. And that is US citizens only, the amount of cars on the road today is slowly creeping towards a billion.

Extracting meaningful information from this mass of mixed data is no easy endeavor. The challenge is transmitting the information, analyzing it and redistributing it to the relevant recipients. If achieved, the connected cars could provide a wealth of data on vehicle movements, condition, wear and tear of parts, and ambient conditions that would benefit the automakers, dealerships, repar shops and drivers alike.

V2V and V2X

In the connected car discussion, you are likely to see the acronyms “V2V” and “V2X” pop up a lot. These are two important concepts in the world of connected cars. The first one, V2V, is short for “vehicle to vehicle.” It refers to all communications between vehicles on the road.

V2V is still in its infancy in many ways, but it could kick off a new era of road safety when it becomes more prevalent in cars. Instead of just sensing other cars, V2V vehicles can communicate with them directly, allowing cars to maintain an internal map of all surrounding vehicles with their speed and direction. That will make it much easier for the car to provide guidance to the driver about when it is safe to change lanes, change speed, or merge.

V2X is even more exciting – it is short for “vehicle to everything.” This is a broader concept that extends V2V to include infrastructure like traffic lights, stop signs, and construction sites. When cars are able to connect with these elements of the driving landscape, they will also be able to give the driver warnings about upcoming speed changes and other necessary maneuvers long before the driver can see them.

For example, when workers start repairs on a stretch of the highway, they could set up a beacon that broadcasts a speed reduction and lane blockage warning to incoming vehicles. The cars then feed that info to their drivers, who can slow down and shift lanes far in advance to save time, reduce traffic, and promote safety.

Safety and Benefits

When it comes to driving, knowledge is power. When drivers know more about the road ahead, they can react in advance. Right now, drivers are mostly limited to spotting changes in the road with their eyes, and that doesn’t leave much time to react, especially at intersections.

A good part of the reason people have accidents is because they aren’t quite sure how much time is left in a green or yellow light, and they try to speed through it. Imagine a system where the car could connect to the upcoming traffic light and put a display on the dashboard or windshield that showed exactly how much time was left until the light changes. That would enable drivers to decide whether they want to stay or go much farther in advance than they do now.

In addition to the safety features, a connected car could also deliver much better entertainment to the car’s passengers, streaming content over the Internet by connecting to wireless hubs.


That’s not to say that nothing stands in the way of connected cars. They are still untested, and the public will need a lot of convincing to adapt a new style of car. In addition, the recent months have made it very clear that any Internet-connected device is vulnerable to hacking attacks.

Researchers have already demonstrated the ability to hack into a connected car and remotely turn on the brakes, for example. Furthermore, nobody knows how to legislate a connected car yet, so regulatory delays could push back the arrival date of connected cars for consumers.

The Cloud

Cars with roaming access to cloud storage also open up a lot of exciting possibilities. For example, cars could have access to enormous libraries of maps, shortcuts, and self-guided tours. They could also give their passengers access to that cloud storage, allowing them an unprecedented ability to work on technical tasks while on the road.

The future of the connected car looks bright, as companies experiment with autonomous cars that tap into V2X capabilities to create one massive, self-driving network of vehicles. This would cut casualties to a minimum by taking human error out of the equation.

Nobody knows how this would affect the process of creating cars, but undoubtedly new jobs in car software development will become essential to the economy. What are your predictions for the connected car? Are you enthusiastic about the new technologies that come with this new revolution?


Matthew Young

Automotive journalist

Matthew Young is a Boston based freelance writer. As an aspiring automotive journalist looking to make a name for myself in the industry, he is passionate about covering anything on 4 wheels. When Matthew is not busy writing about cars or new emerging tech, he usually spends time fiddling with his camera and learning a thing or two about photography. You can tweet him @mattbeardyoung



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