Weekly Brief: ADAS and Big Data

Weekly Brief: ADAS and Big Data

In this week’s Brief: House of Commons, Thatcham Research, PSA Peugeot Citroën, IBM, GM, U.S. Congress, Buick, Consumer Reports, Cadillac, Ford, Honda, Lincoln, eCall, Council of the European Union and European Parliament.

Who knew automatic braking systems could be so trendy? Last week, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) became the focal point of a Twitter campaign, #stopthecrash, and a political proposal before the United Kingdom’s House of Commons, where the CEO of Thatcham Research argued that government incentives for autonomous emergency braking (AEB) could dramatically reduce road injuries and lost lives.

The CEO, Peter Shaw, noted that initial U.K. data shows that cars equipped with AEB have 18% fewer third-party injury claims. Similar studies from the United States show a 26% reduction in injuries. He called for support for a Thatcham Research campaign, which plans to ask the Treasury to introduce and fund a £500 incentive for those choosing to buy new cars with AEB fitted.

Although government support for the initiative is a long shot, Shaw claimed that such a scheme would see 100% of new cars equipped with AEB by 2025, which could avert more than 17,000 deaths and serious injuries on U.K. roads in a decade from 2015. “Vehicle technology has been a major factor in cutting U.K. road deaths from 7,000-plus in the 1970s to 1,754 in 2012,” he said. “An estimated 90% of crashes are due to human error or distraction, so it is easy to see how driver intervention systems can help to reduce substantially the risk or impact of a crash.”

In other news, it was a big week for automotive Big Data, as PSA Peugeot Citroën announced plans to use IBM Big Data and Analytics and IBM MobileFirst to offer a range of connected services to its clients. These services would leverage websites, vehicle data, customer service and mobile applications. One proposed service would, for example, ensure better weather data precision via onboard sensors of temperature, lights and windshield wipers from PSA Peugeot Citroën's cars.

Meanwhile, Japan said it plans to consolidate all available automotive Big Data currently being collected – whether by automakers, maintenance service companies or the government – into a single automotive platform. The platform will be private and accessible only to endorsed parties, including insurers to help determine accurate benchmarks for premiums. A broad task force will investigate its feasibility, and a target date has been set for 2020. 

GM reeled from allegations that it knowingly overlooked faulty ignition switches, which allegedly led to 31 crashes and 13 deaths between 2002 and 2014. The company has recalled 2.2 million vehicles, and CEO Mary Barra is set to testify before the U.S. Congress this week. One of Big Data’s biggest promises for the auto industry is to connect the dots on faulty parts and recurring problems across large sets of automobiles on an ongoing basis (rather than after maintenance inspections), allowing automakers to avoid embarrassing recalls and, more importantly, avoidable deaths and injuries due to preventable mistakes. 

GM took a momentary respite from the recall PR firestorm to announce that most 2015 Buicks will be 4G LTE-enabled and come with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot to allow passengers to browse the Internet, download movies, play games or send e-mail on up to seven devices at once. Buick will start with the LaCrosse, Regal, Verano and Encore, and ramp up to all of its brands by 2016.

Following a survey of more than a billion vehicles, Consumer Reports concluded that infotainment systems today are too tough to learn and too unreliable when it comes to executing basic tasks. Cadillac, Ford, Honda and Lincoln drivers had the most complaints with confusing electronics. Sixty percent of respondents said infotainment systems were too hard to learn, while 33% said features didn’t work properly. Typically, studies like this reveal older drivers experiencing the preponderance of problems, but, in this case, Consumer Reports said younger drivers complained of more problems while older drivers had more trouble figuring infotainment systems out to begin with.

The rollout of eCall appeared to be headed for another delay last week, as the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament reached an agreement that E.U. member states must have the infrastructure to handle eCalls in place no later than Oct. 1, 2017. Carmakers, meanwhile, are supposed to start installing eCall devices in vehicles no later than October 2015. The latest mixed message is likely to only further increase the auto industry’s call for a delay in the October 2015 deadline. As for when the storyline will switch from one of recurring delays to actual implementation is anybody’s guess.

The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU analysis with information from industry press releases.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU. 

For all the latest telematics trends, check out Content and Apps for Automotive Europe 2014 on April 8-9 in Munich, Germany, Insurance Telematics Europe 2014 on May 6-7 in London, Telematics India and South Asia 2014 on May 28-29 in Bangalore, India, Insurance Telematics Canada 2014 on May 28-29 in Toronto, Telematics Detroit 2014 on June 4-5 in Novi, Michigan, Advanced Automotive Safety USA 2014 on July 8-9 in Novi, Michigan, Insurance Telematics USA 2014 on Sept. 3-4 in Chicago, and Telematics Munich 2014 on Nov. 10-11 in Munich, Germany.

For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports: Insurance Telematics Report 2014Connected Fleet Report 2014The Automotive HMI Report 2013 and Telematics Connectivity Strategies Report 2013.

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