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United Kingdom, Jul 19, 2017,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Autonomous cars: British government to make laws about data collection

The British authorities are preparing a legislative text about the use of data collected by connected vehicles, and while some people are delighted to have their personal details protected, others are concerned. Limiting the use of this data could lead to the removal of some of the advantages and services of autonomous vehicles.


The British government is in the process of establishing a series of rules regarding the sharing, collection and ownership of data from intelligent vehicles. In time, these regulations will become part of a law concerning connected or autonomous vehicles.

The question of how to manage the information used and saved in these cars' systems is becoming more frequent, as more and more models that exchange data or communicate information to central platforms via a cloud are introduced.


More or less sensitive data


Though certain data is relatively low sensitivity – such as weather forecasts or traffic information – other data, regarding the driver's characteristics and identity or how and where they drive, is more sensitive and requires protection. But clear instructions are also required about who is authorised to access this information and what they are allowed to do with it. 

However, some of the main operators in this field fear that overly strict regulations regarding the recovery and exchange of data actually reduces the drivers' safety and hinders the development of connected cars by limiting some of their advantages. A consortium called Flourish, which is currently testing autonomous cars in the United Kingdom, has issued a warning about too much control in this field, reported the Financial Times.


Do not remove functions that are useful to drivers


Made up of representatives from a law firm, insurance company Axa and engineering firm Atkins, the group has publicly raised its concerns that certain functions will be removed over time, such as data transfer which allows for insurance cover that matches the vehicle's use, or on-board systems that alert the emergency services quickly in the event of an accident.


An appropriate balance between data protection and protection of privacy


"Data collection is the cornerstone of the operation of connected and autonomous vehicles, and the importance of ensuring that this data can be used is clear. (…) However, the use of this data will inevitably raise the issue of data protection and protection of privacy. An appropriate balance between these sometimes-competing considerations will need to be found so that the UK can appropriately exploit the potential opportunities in the use of this data and the CAV market," says the report by Flourish.

Specialists seem to hold the same opinion as most users. In 2016, according to a study carried out by consulting firm McKinsey, 71% of users said they were prepared to authorise the use of their data if they gained certain advantages in return, such as lower car insurance premiums.


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