Aldo Agostinelli

You can tell a man by how and where he drives – and especially by what he does while driving: it sounds like a slogan, but it is what big data can actually do if applied to the automotive sector.

Big data offer a whole lot of information concerning how people use their cars. And we are not only talking about information concerning the vehicles themselves – such as wheels’ wear, fuel consumption per km etc. – but also data regarding drivers’ habits, the way they hold the steering wheel, their most frequent journeys, the music they listen to, and the petrol stations they stop at. Read it in Italian.

Obviously enough, this can be achieved thanks to the fact that nowadays cars are always connected, not like the old Fiat Ritmo built in the ‘90s or Audi A4 dating back to the year 2000. Cars are now equipped with over 100 sensors providing a consistent data stream, amounting in about 25 gigabyte per hour, according to the latest estimates by McKinsey. That is to say, a big amount of money if you consider how many people would pay big bucks to put their hands on such data, such as insurance companies to spare parts suppliers and marketing experts, as well.

Indeed, knowing people’s driving habits may help creating new systems to develop users’ profiles to be used to design new products and marketing campaigns targeted to a different audience according to the reference market.  The latest report entitled “Connected Car: Vehicle Services”, issued by, underlined this fact very clearly.

Sales of connected cars are supposed to grow by 74% by 2021. However, if the market of services connected to such vehicles has generated over 194 million dollars in 2016, the value of big data to be produced by them is basically “priceless” and could be exploited in different ways including customized insurance contracts, special repairs services at the mechanic’s, petrol stations which, knowing that approaching cars are running out of fuel, could send a dedicated offer or discounts or coupons or anyway some kind of incentives to attract the drivers and convince them to stop and refill.

OEMs could increase their earnings in two different ways: by selling data packages or asking for a commission on third parties’ revenues.

And what about privacy? According to a recent survey by KPMG (Global Automotive Executive Survey 2017) users are more willing to release data regarding their use of their cars and the related consumption than personal data. Which means manufactures will be able to establish closer relationships with customers, increasing brand loyalty and brand reputation.

And we are not talking only about car manufacturers but also people dealing with cars safety, analysis and repairs, the production of hardware needed to connect cars to the net – such as the eCall Technology – or sophisticated integrated systems, and even those designing innovative solution to connect and update old cars and even manufacturers of touchscreens, displays and interfaces using an external device, such as a tablet, a smartphone or a laptop for connecting to the net, just to name a few.

Big data are once again the next big thing also when it comes to cars connectivity.

What do you think about connected cars and the related services? I would like to get your comments. Tweet @agostinellialdo.

If you liked this post, you may also like “How can Big Data play a role in solving world hunger?

Aldo Agostinelli