5 Ways Big Data Is Changing the Auto Industry

5 Ways Big Data Is Changing the Auto Industry

Big data was an interesting concept a decade ago, and now it’s a ubiquitous feature of modern businesses. Data is fundamentally valuable; depending on what you gather and how you use it, data can give you better business insights, help you change direction, and guide you in learning how and why your business works the way it does. When that data is collected on a massive scale, its benefits grow even further.

Each industry is capitalizing on the spoils of big data a little bit differently, and those new abilities, ideas, and processes are reshaping the industries in new and exciting ways. The automotive industry is a perfect example; from concept to ongoing customer service, big data is fundamentally transforming the auto industry.

The Auto Industry

The auto industry is bigger than you might realize. There are big-name auto manufacturers, who design and assemble vehicles for the masses, but you also need to consider the wide network of suppliers they rely on to create and ship the individual parts necessary for those vehicles. There are also distributors responsible for relocating and selling those vehicles and don’t forget departments like safety and customer service. The auto industry is far-reaching, and it uses big data at almost every level.

Big Changes

Big data is improving the auto industry in multiple different dimensions:

  1. Value analysis. First, big data is helping companies understand the real values of their cars. This is useful when designing new vehicles, but even more useful when valuing old cars. Valuation services like those provided by Kelley Blue Book are more precise and more efficient than ever before, and vehicle recyclers like the Clunker Junker can offer vehicle owners a more precise sum for their old junkers.
  2. Supply chain management. One of big data’s most important applications is dissecting the value and flow of specific processes across multiple organizations; in the auto industry, this analysis is applied to supply chain management. Companies need to know what parts they’re getting from where, how much they cost, how efficiently they’re being provided, and how those actions affect the profitability of the company overall. Complex data processing allows insight into these dimensions for the first time, and companies are optimizing their strategies accordingly.
  3. Cost reduction. Big data in the auto industry is driving overall costs down. Big data analysis allows companies to understand when one material is substantially beneficial over another and helps them discover new procedural changes that can improve efficiency or maximize productivity. Ultimately, that means companies are capable of putting together vehicles far less expensively, and consumers are seeing the benefits. Consumers end up paying less for vehicles, and vehicle manufacturers still get to maximize their profits.
  4. Safety improvement. Companies are also using big data to delve deeper into analyzing vehicle safety. After collecting millions of data points from both test crashes and simulated scenarios, companies are able to make hundreds of additional improvements to their vehicles to increase their capacity to survive immediate events and long-term wear and tear. This, again, is advantageous to both companies and consumers; consumers get to enjoy a safer vehicle, and companies have happier customers and lower insurance costs. It’s gradually making our roads safer as well.
  5. Consumer understanding. Finally, automakers are using big data to better understand what their customers want and need. This allows them to design more attractive, more practical vehicles for the masses (which gives consumers more of what they’re looking for and increases sales for the manufacturer). It also gives automakers key insights that they can then use to create more specific advertising and marketing campaigns, saving money by increasing efficiency and still maximizing exposure for their most important brands.

If you own a car or plan on purchasing one in the near future, big data is already benefitting you. Thanks to big data and predictive analytics, our vehicles will grow increasingly inexpensive, safe, and tailored to our individual needs. Complete those customer surveys if you get the chance, and keep contributing to the vast wealth of data that these companies need to keep improving.

– Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship


The Connected Car, Big Data and the Automotive Industry’s Future

With the growing Internet of Things (IoT), the vast majority of our devices will be connected to the internet.

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When people think of IoT, watches, phones and other small devices often spring to mind. But increasingly, manufacturers are dreaming big. Large “gadgets” like our automobiles are getting synced into the web and updated with new technology. Automobile manufacturers are now embedding WiFi into their vehicles, offering Apple CarPlay integration, GPS navigation, email and much more. In fact, by 2020, connected car market research estimates that connected car services will account for nearly $40 billion in annual revenue.

The Technology of the Connected Car

Cars already contain advanced technology, with hundreds of sensors and numerous onboard computers and processors. With non-connected cars, however, most of the information is generated or stored locally. For example, you can download GPS-based maps but they might not be up to date. Or you can download MP3s, but you won’t always have access to the latest and greatest hits.

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With connected cars, everything will be up to date. Of course, the biggest benefits of the internet aren’t entertainment based. With connected cars, automobile manufacturers will one day remotely update software systems, and monitor engine performance and powertrain performance.

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Big Data Use Cases for the Connected Car

Forget to change your oil, or is an oxygen sensor malfunctioning? Your automobile manufacturer will be able to tell you immediately and remotely. Have to respond to an important email, check your bank balance or pay some bills? With just a few more technological advances, you’ll be able to do so from the comfort of your own car.

As data is being gathered, companies will discover even more about consumer behaviour. For example, are there links between the type of music people listen to, and which drive-through restaurants, gas stations or other places they prefer to visit? This could have a huge impact when companies decide which radio stations to spend their advertising budgets on. By gathering big data through connected cars, it may be possible to uncover a wide range of correlations.

Either way, connected cars promise big innovation. The connected car industry is projected to enjoy huge growth in the years ahead. In 2014, McKinsey estimated the global market for connectivity components and services was valued at about $38 billion. By 2020, McKinsey estimates the industry will grow to $215 billion.

Big Data and the Connected Car Fleet

For businesses, one of the biggest benefits for connected cars will be fleet management. Many companies have to manage hundreds or even thousands of company automobiles. By utilizing connected cars and big data, companies will maintain better control and oversight of their fleets. For example, companies could use an array of sensors in their connected cars to analyze aggregated data. Are certain drivers speeding or using improper braking techniques? Are drivers taking routes that are under construction, or choked with traffic while faster routes are available? By monitoring sensors and analyzing big data, companies will discover this information and more.

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Furthermore, in the future companies will easily monitor cars across systems to maintain them in peak performance. Companies will also be able to ensure their cars aren’t being misused or abused by drivers, which will lower upkeep costs over time.

Using Big Data to Understand Roads and Infrastructure

The massively interconnected roadways in the United States and other countries generate vast amounts of data. Construction, accidents, stoplights — the amount of data from roadways is immense. As more cars become connected, the amount of gathered data will only increase. Using the vast amount of data, city planners and city engineers will better plan out roadways and traffic flows. Navigation systems will also become more accurate in uncovering the fastest routes. Even more importantly, early warning systems can be designed to warn people of hazard spots in the road, such as sharp turns, construction or hidden driveways. This data, in turn, will help civil engineers design more efficient and safer roadways.

How Big Data Analytics Can Lead to Custom Insurance

In the future, insurance companies can use connected cars to monitor driver performance and safety. This will certainly raise ethical and privacy issues and some drivers might not like the idea of “big brother” insurance companies monitoring them through their sensors. Still, safe drivers who consistently obey the rules of the road, say by following posted speed limits, could be offered a discount if they prove their safe driving habits with data from connected cars.

After accidents and other incidents occur, insurance companies may be able to use data from connected cars to figure out what happened. This could reduce false claims and help both insurance companies and legal authorities figure out who is truly at fault. With all of this data, insurance companies may be able to eventually provide one-on-one driving insurance. As a result, this could increase incentives for drivers to drive safely. In turn, more drivers practising safe driving practices could actually make roadways safer for all drivers.

The Future for Connected Cars Is Soon — And Big Data Will Get Us There

We’ve discussed quite a number of hypotheticals in this article. However, connected cars are already a reality. The automotive industry, including manufacturers such as GM, Chrysler and Audi, already offers wifi integration. Meanwhile, Ford’s SYNC technology allows drivers to use their smartphones to turn cars into wifi hubs. Other companies, such as Mobley and Audiovox, also offer gadgets that can turn cars into wifi hotspots.

Furthermore, as adoption rates increase for mobile cars, more gadgets, wifi services, apps and other innovations will be created. As a result, even more, data will be generated and new opportunities will emerge. The possibilities out there are endless and people are imaginative. In 10 years, who knows what our cars will look like and what they might do?

– by Datameer

How big data is transforming the automotive industry

From self-driving cars to vehicles connected to the Internet of Things: Big data is transforming the way we drive forever.

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The rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT) is seeing more and more devices connected to the internet. Traditionally, these have been biometric wearables, home appliances and audio-visual equipment. Automobile manufacturers, however, are making a play to corner this market for their own ends.

Entrenching Wi-Fi into automobiles opens an entirely new avenue of pursuit that entails vehicles communicating directly with the internet for GPS navigation, email and music streaming, for example.

By 2020, the connected car market report states that connected car services will account for approximately $40 billion annually. These services include infotainment, navigation, fleet management, remote diagnostics, automatic collision notification, enhanced safety, usage-based insurance, traffic management and, lastly, autonomous driving. The root of these applications is big data, as increasing amounts of data are collected from remote sensors; this information is being interpreted and leveraged to transform the automotive industry into one of automation and self-sufficiency.

Big data and the connected car

It isn’t actually a big stretch to incorporate big data into the automotive industry, as most modern cars already contain advanced technology with numerous sensors, onboard computing tools and processors. The difference is that most of this information is generated and stored locally, with connected cars, the connection to the internet will ensure all applications and information is up to date and shared to the correct platforms.

The end game is likely that automobile manufacturers will be able to update software remotely, allowing them to monitor and respond to engine performance. For example, if the vehicle is due for an oil change or running low on radiator fluid, the manufacturer will be able to inform the driver remotely. Personal errands will also get easier as you will be able to respond to emails, perform internet banking and pay bills on the way home from work.

As big data is gathered from the multitude of sensors, inferences can be drawn regarding consumer behaviour, for instance, establishing if there a link between the music people listen to and drive-through restaurants they frequent. These kinds of connections can impact advertising resource allocations and budgets, and thus the information gathered from connected cars is invaluable commercially.

With regard to fleet management, by using big data and connected cars, it will enable the management of vast numbers of vehicles by way of analysis of aggregated data. Sensors will inform management of speed, braking techniques and route selection and thus they can make informed decisions to relay to the drivers. Better yet, with the application of smart sensor algorithms, the car itself will be able to suggest appropriate responses for actions measured.

Vehicle maintenance will become more preventative than reactive, as monitoring across all systems will elucidate problems before they result in a breakdown. All of this conspires to keep vehicles in peak performance shape, increase efficiency and lower costs.

A considerable amount of information arises from the interconnected motorways in the United States, and in other countries. By using this data, especially the information regarding construction, accidents and intersections, the connected car can navigate more effectively and engineers can design road flows according to real traffic patterns. The result is more efficient and safer roads.

Insurance companies are ready to pounce on this surfeit of big data. By using the information gleaned from smart sensors, the industry can benefit from compiling custom insurance plans, monitoring driver behaviour, performance and safety. These schedules are already in place in some instances, with insurance companies offering discounts hinging on driving performance. Piecing together the events of an accident is more accurate and less subjective than testimony when accomplished through big data reconstruction. This will hopefully make customers drive more cautiously and inevitably make the roadways a safer place.

Big data and autonomous driving

There is undeniable potential for autonomous driving to keep our roads safer, as 90 percent of the death toll on our roads is due to human error. For these vehicles to become a reality, they need data. Big data in fact. The vehicles are furnished with sensors measuring everything from position, speed, direction and braking; to traffic signals, pedestrian proximity and hazards. Using this data, the vehicle is able to make a decision and carry out appropriate responses devoid of human error.

The groundwork has already been laid for the autonomous vehicle with collision warnings and camera controlled reversing applications, as well as steering governance, braking assistance and speed control already available in some higher-end models.

By leveraging this real-time information, the way people drive is transforming. Not only controlling the act of driving itself, but early warnings concerning imminent mechanical issues can prevent failures and anticipate maintenance, saving both time and money.  Additionally, the cars will be automatically synced to environmental conditions and changing surroundings.

As more autonomous vehicles enter the scene, big data will only get bigger and consequently, the potential for autonomous technology will rise, resulting in a vastly more data-centric automotive industry.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor NetworkGary Eastwood has over 20 years’ experience as a science and technology journalist, editor and copywriter; writing on subjects such as mobile & UC, smart cities, ICT, the cloud, IoT, clean technology, nanotechnology, robotics & AI and science & innovation for a range of publications. Outside his life as a technology writer and analyst, Gary is an avid landscape photographer who has authored two photography books and ghost-written two others.