Motorway lights

Buyers of new or nearly new cars need to check who has access to the data their car generates and how that data will be used to their benefit before they sign on the dotted, warns a new connected car service.The vast majority of cars coming off the production line are effectively computers on wheels, says Smartdriverclub, with connectivity to the manufacturer allowing data to be fed to them about all aspects of the vehicle. However, most motorists are unaware of the data their car is generating and how this is being used.

Penny Searles, CEO of Smartdriverclub says: “Data from connected cars is being gathered by motor manufacturers for various reasons. It is an issue that I have felt pretty strongly about for some time and is one of the main reasons I launched Smartdriverclub last summer.

“Many motorists are simply oblivious to the fact that their vehicle is transmitting data directly to the manufacturer telling them how, when and where they are driving. That’s OK if the motorist understands this, has given explicit consent and is getting something in return for their data but I don’t believe that’s always the case. They may well be giving their consent but it’s one of many pieces of paper they are being asked to sign when they buy a new car.

“Connected cars offer a wealth of benefits, such as providing a new route, communicating with emergency services to report a collision or alerting drivers to a fault and the nearest garage. Most of us want more personalised services and we’re willing to sacrifice certain elements of privacy to benefit from more targeted offerings. Smartphone apps are a good example of this. However, what is the beefit to consumers, when manufacturers record driving data?

Ms Searles said that she launched Smartdriverclub to put motorists back in control, by providing them with access to connectivity in their car, but with full visibility over how their data will be used to facilitate these services. One element of the direct service customers opt in to receive is fault data from their car fed directly to book‎ which gives independent garages the opportunity to make the repair at the customer request.

The data we use belongs to the customer, not Smartdriverclub, we just control it for them. If we have permission we will share that data with others, but we are always transparent in what we share and with whom. Motor manufacturers need to take on the same level of openness with their customers.

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