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Data from cars may be worth more than the cars themselves in the near future


Experts predict that driving data collected from cars will be soon be more valuable than the cars themselves. This is because of the growth of self-driving cars, soon to become much more mainstream, which require data in order to run. Consumer user information gathered from the internet is already traded by companies and can be used for a wide range of purposes. A similar principle is at work in the market for driving data.


“Automakers will make more money selling vehicle data than the cars themselves”: Volkow

Large companies typically collect information about our online usage as a matter of course. For example, Google uses a variety of methods, such as cookies or JavaScript, to collect user data via our clicks, information filled out in forms, server requests and so on, to track data such as search histories, our IP address, the advertisements we show an interest in, and the services we use. This kind of data is invaluable for companies in tracking and analyzing consumer trends and behaviors.


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A car is essentially “a large computer on wheels”. Although Google says its self-driving cars run even when they are offline, this does not allow any of the advantages of a self-driving car to be utilized – similar to the way in which a computer which is not connected to the internet has significantly reduced functionality.

According to Tom Coughlin, founder of Coughlin Associates, a data storage company, “An automobile can produce 1 gigabyte of data per second”. This would equate to filling up the memory of an iPhone in just 30 seconds.

The Israelis startup, otonomo, is one company which already makes money selling data gathered from cars. This kind of information has a variety of uses, for example in the development of parking applications. Ben Volkow, CEO, predicts, “By 2020, automakers will be able to make more money selling vehicle data than the cars themselves.”

“Data is really king in this market,” says Tasha Keeney, an analyst at ARK Invest. She forecasts that the self-driving taxi market could be worth $10 trillion by the early 2030s (5x the value of the car sales market at present, which is worth $2 trillion per year).

(By ZUU)

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