UK Drivers Don’t Want Data Logging Cars, Study Claims

Around three-quarters of UK motorists don’t want data logging technology in their vehicles even if it can save them money.

Research by used vehicle consumer website, Parkers.co.uk, claims to have revealed that 75% of drivers don’t want data collecting systems fitted to most modern vehicles in their cars, especially if they could affect things like insurance premiums. The findings follow its investigation into car companies’ use of behavior data. This revealed that automakers share anonymized behavioral data about its customers, such as where they go and their driving style, with third party data companies.

Just 10% of the more than 500 website users polled where aware their car had a data agreement in place already and, of them, only 19% of those people confessed to reading it. Additionally, 86% of those surveyed would not be happy for their car to share driving habit data with third-party companies.

Connected car features highlighted by the website’s investigation found several examples of embedded technology that can be accessed by the consumer after buying the vehicles. For example, Škoda Octavia SE customers have the option of upgrading to auto-dip headlights for a one-off payment of £179 ($248). This includes unlimited access to the feature and is transferable from owner to owner.

Buying from behind the wheel looks set to become even more lucrative with autonomous cars. The Polestar 2 was the first car to have Google’s Android OS natively plumbed into it. Polestar’s website mentions that thanks to Android Automotive OS being native, the Polestar 2 “will soon be a shop you can buy things in”.

Now the website is calling to make it easier for drivers to opt out of data agreements and for it to be more obvious in the first place that the car is collecting information and why. Parkers.co.uk Editor, Keith Adams said: “It’s a worry that only 19% of owners who know about their car’s data agreement have read them – we think it’s time that carmakers made these messages simpler and more prominent, and made opting out of this data capture process a simple click or press of a button.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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