Because autonomous and self-driving vehicles rely on a combination of cameras, radar, sonar, GPS, LIDAR and a host of other software and hardware solutions, one thing is certain: they produce a ton of data.
Some estimates put autonomous vehicle data numbers at 4,000 GB of data/day—as much data as 3,000 people using video, Internet, and chat. Others put the number at 300TB/ year per vehicle.
And those numbers are based on just one hour of driving per day. Right now, data numbers are all over the place because there’s no way to know how many of these vehicles will be on the roads in the coming years. Or what the infrastructure to support them will look like.
These massive amounts of data will be distributed to edge computing devices in order to produce real-time information. Some of it will be transferred to, processed, and stored in the cloud. As with all data—especially in this day and age—some big questions come up. Who keeps all of this data safe, how do they keep it safe, and in the end, who owns it?
Privacy & Security
For manufacturers, data privacy concerns boil down to safety; they want to add as many safety monitoring systems as it takes to keep vehicles safe. This includes facial recognition software (to detect drowsiness), microphones, sensors that can tell when you enter and exit the vehicle, and heart rate monitoring. Some technologies are even working toward capabilities to judge a driver’s emotional state.
Consumers, on the other hand, are skeptical of these safety claims and worry their data will be collected and sold or, potentially, used against them when accidents occur or insurance rates are adjusted. GM caught the brunt of consumer backlash in 2011 when they tried to change their OnStar user agreement to allow sharing of data with third parties. Other concerns involve data hacks and breaches, or full takeovers of a vehicle's control.
Some propose tighter privacy controls for individual owners versus public-use vehicles, for instance, family cars versus public, autonomous taxis.