With Apple, Samsung and Uber among the 57 companies that are trialling AVs in California and elsewhere, the question of who will control access to the vast amounts of data they generate is of growing urgency

The autonomous vehicles now being piloted around the world have been described as “smartphones on wheels” because of the vast amounts of data they collect about their users and the vehicles and people they share the road with.

In fact, Apple and Samsung are among the 57 companies that by last month had permits to test autonomous vehicles (AVs) on California’s roads. In Europe, Nissan has been testing its vehicles in London, and BMW has built a centre of excellence for autonomous driving near Munich. In China, e-commerce giant Alibaba is one of the latest tech companies to start testing self-driving cars.

We may be some years away from truly autonomous vehicles, but privacy issues are already with us. Advertisers and tech companies would like to get their hands on the data generated by today’s connected cars, and BMW revealed it had turned down requests to share its data as far back as 2015.

The data already being generated by vehicles could be valuable to governments, insurers and the police, as well as companies

In 2014 a senior Ford executive, Jim Farley, made comments at an electronics convention revealing that the company knew whether owners of its cars had broken speeding laws,...

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Autonomous vehicles  online privacy  Big data  Uber  personal data  Future of Privacy Forum  GDPR  Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles 

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