Home » A ‘Connected Car’ Can Generate Up To 25 Gigabytes Of Data An Hour, But Where Is It Going?

A ‘Connected Car’ Can Generate Up To 25 Gigabytes Of Data An Hour, But Where Is It Going?

Tmd Rav4 Data Ts
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I was reading a report on the challenges presented by connected cars, and a bit of data struck me: A connected car can generate up to about 25 GB of data every hour. That’s a lot of data! To put it in Napster-era MP3 size, that’s the data equivalent of downloading multi-platinum Nebraska alt-rock band 311’s hit song “Amber” a whopping 6,200 times in a single hour. That’s over 100 times in a minute.

But who owns that data? Who gets to sell that data? Where is it going? These are the concerns of regular people as well as the US government, which is planning to issue new rules on these connected cars later this year.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

It’s feeling like a numbers-heavy TMD this morning, so let’s throw out two more numbers: $8 million and $65 billion. That’s what GM’s Cruise is reportedly paying to settle with the woman it dragged with one of its robotaxis and what Honda plans to invest in electrification.

Am I writing this next to a snoring David? Yes I am. [Ed Note: It’s a problem. -DT]

A Modern Car Produces A Ton Of Data

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The folks over at S&P Global Mobility put out these reports full of data and analysis I regularly enjoy reading, especially when I find a little nugget of data buried in there that toggles some switch in my brain into the “ORLY” position. Today, it was this brief on connected cars.

If you’re not aware, a ‘connected car’ is basically any vehicle that can communicate data back to the automaker (or other third party). Most modern cars are connected cars, whether as simple as a Subaru that can report back crash data or as complex as a Tesla Model Y that’s sending a stream of your driving back to the automaker.

It’s a lot of data! Here’s how S&P describes it:

As cars transform into rolling data repositories, more lingering concerns over data privacy and security are beginning to hinder the full potential of connected cars, which collect a lot more data than expected. A typical connected vehicle can generate nearly 25 GB of data per hour and collect information from more than 100 different datapoints, thanks to embedded features including geolocation and navigation, companion apps, biometrics, voice recognition, on-board diagnostics and driver assistance.

Additionally, cars can collect data in the background via cameras, microphones, sensors and connected phones and apps. Sensitive data captured from connected vehicles can include personal identifiable information (PII), location, behavior and financial data from customers, as well as intellectual property related to the vehicle and services provided.

The rest of the article goes on to talk about the risks associated with holding that data, and we’ve already seen automakers admit to sharing driving information with insurance companies. Some of this is the cost of modern life. We get cheaper electronics with the implicit promise that the makers of those products get to squeeze as much info out of it as possible for their own financial gain.

I don’t love this and, while I think we sort of understand this with phones and Alexas, I do wonder if people think about their cars as the ultimate data-sharing devices. Let this be a reminder, then, if you have a modern car it’s probably ratting on you.

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Connected Cars Are ‘Really Serious Stuff’

In addition to massive tariffs, the Feds are planning to clamp down on connected cars. This started back in February when everyone panicked about Chinese vehicles and the Biden Administration said it was going to learn something about the vehicles. According to this Reuters report, it has!

“We expect to have a rule out this fall,” Raimondo told a U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday, adding: “The national security risks are quite significant … We decided to take action because this is really serious stuff.”

Raimondo said connected vehicles “have thousands of sensors, thousands of chips – they’re controlled by software, which is coming from Beijing in the case of Chinese-made cars. They know where the driver goes, what the driving patterns are, what you’re saying in your car. It’s a lot of data around U.S. persons that goes right back to Beijing.”

This is all true and I think it’s important we are careful about data we send to Beijing, but I also think we should be careful about data we send anywhere. It would be nice to have a rule that covers all data sent to any cities or automakers or companies.

Report: Cruise To Pay Woman Dragged By Robotaxi At Least $8 Million

A Chevy Bolt robotaxi deployed by GM’s Cruise unit was involved in an incident last year that resulted in serious injuries to a pedestrian. Specifically, the woman was struck by a Nissan being driven by a human and then collided with a Cruise Robotaxi. Uncertain of what to do, the robotaxi pulled over to the side of the street, unaware it was dragging the woman with it. This led to the unit shutting down all driverless operations, temporarily.

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With robotaxi service set to resume soon, we’re now getting a little information on what’s happened to the victim in the months since the action. Specifically, Fortune reports that the woman has reached an $8 million to $12 million settlement with Cruise.

The victim has decided she would rather remain anonymous and therefore we don’t know much about her other than that she’s now out of the hospital.

Honda To Spend $65 Billion The Rest Of This Decade On Electrification

Honda’s sole electric car in the United States for a while is going to be the Prologue EV, which wasn’t even developed by Honda. The Ultium-based Prologue is more GM engineering than Honda engineering. And while EV sales are leveling off a touch, most automakers still see broader EV adoption in the future.

It’s therefore sensible that Honda, now swimming in yen, is going to up its spend on electrification for the rest of the decade.

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Per Reuters:

Japan’s Honda Motor, opens new tab pledged to double its electrification and software investment to about $65 billion over the 10 years running through the 2030 business year, it said on Thursday.

Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe told a press conference the automaker planned to spend a total of 10 trillion yen ($64.88 billion) on electrification and software over the period, doubling the amount it had pledged in April 2022.

What’s the point of having the money if you can’t enjoy spending it?

What I’m Listening To While Writing TMD

This song is a lot smoother than I remembered, but since I made the joke at the top of the post I had to include it. Man, that dude’s hair is straight Wendy’s frozen dairy desert. Also… is that Nicole Sherzinger in the video?

The Big Question

Do you know all the data your car is sharing at any moment?

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Topshot images: Toyota; Dmitry/stock.adobe.com 

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Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
2 days ago

Electric Six could always use more love. Hell yeah.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
4 days ago

Like others, I have my doubts about that number.

25GB is 200Gb. Transferring 25GB in an hour would require a sustained 57Mbps. The average peak upload speed over 5G is 17Mbps in the US.

https://www.opensignal.com/2023/06/30/benchmarking-the-global-5g-experience-june-2023

So while in principle there’s no reason a car can’t *generate* 25GB of data per hour (I’m sure it can generate far more), it most certainly cannot send that much data over a cellular network.

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
4 days ago

I’m assuming that’s basically the cumulative data across all the CAN, LIN, etc buses. Plus some automotive ethernet these days, because 57Mbps is a lot even just for local CAN.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
5 days ago

Do you know all the data your car is sharing at any moment?”

I know what my car is sharing… exactly nothing. It’s a 2008 Honda Fit that lacks a sat-nav system.

That will likely change with my next car… which will likely be a Tesla. And on a Tesla, I will assume EVERYTHING will be shared… even when I lean back in the driver seat and let a massive fart rip…

Sivad Nayrb
Sivad Nayrb
5 days ago

…where is the data going?

C’mon, Man!

It’s going to China…

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
6 days ago

25 GB per hour … 100 data points

Gonna have to call BS on that number. For comparison, a modern commercial airliner with modern networked avionics, like an A350 or 787 generates around 50GB an hour of total parameter data, and that’s from something like 25,000 distinct source points, most of which are sophisticated sensors operating at a far higher fidelity and refresh rate than anything in your car. Also, very little of that data is ever directly recorded/saved/transmitted, the data files contained on the legally mandated flight recorders (aka “black boxes”) are uncompressed only around 300-500 MB per flight leg. 25GB/hour is a frankly bonkers amount of parameter data for any consumer-level use, either someone has badly screwed up their coding, or it’s a gross exaggeration.

Groover
Groover
6 days ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

you’re forgetting the “shitty coder” multiplier

Captain Woof
Captain Woof
6 days ago

You know what’s also scary? In some cases the telecom network cannot even handle it when a large update is pushed to all cars, let alone a continuous stream of ‘next-gen’ data usage…

Last edited 6 days ago by Captain Woof
Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
6 days ago

I’m perfectly aware of all the data my car is sharing. It communicates via frequencies between 2-Hz and 20kHz that there’s an engine in there somewhere, and via frequencies between 400-800THz that it is red. This information is sent to the people and recording devices in listening range and the people in line of sight, respectively.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
6 days ago
Reply to  Ricardo Mercio

Sounds like my 280Z. Does yours generate thumbs up through the data communicated by those frequencies?

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
6 days ago

Occasionally, yes. I can imagine a 280Z has a noticeably higher rate of thumb-driven signal feedback, as it seems the fried egg headlights in my 986 interfere with the 400-800THz signal reception. Hopefully, some choice exhaust modifications can enhance the 2Hz-20kHz band.

Last edited 6 days ago by Ricardo Mercio
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
6 days ago

None of my cars share shit. I didn’t update or share anything when I bought my last car. It might tell someone that what I’m doing is what the previous owners are doing. I hope the poor lady goes after the city state and federal agencies who approved this insanity. Granted the Nissan driver was primarily at fault. As a person who has worked at many businesses my concern is the user’s of my data would fukitup more than if it was properly vetted but way to much data. But it is the internet age and it is balls to wall stupid. I get at the beginning but I doa search now I don’t want 3 pages of sponsored ads followed by 8 billion possible legitimate sites. I want at most 20 sites that are relevant. Advertisers will at some point realize these companies are lying to them about hits and qualified leads. Too many stupid people believe a computer is any more than a mechanical advice producing results from an ignorant programmer trying to maximize hits.

J.N.
J.N.
6 days ago

In the US we need a constitutional right to privacy. Barring that, any form of r
data gathering must be opt-in. I paid for the car, any information about it is mine. This isn’t like using Google for free where you are the product.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
6 days ago
Reply to  J.N.

Amen brother. Required opt in not opt out. Don’t hide where you can decide. Make each segment a separate opt in not a 300 page with agree at the beginning.

Vee
Vee
5 days ago
Reply to  J.N.

You’d think that, but so far even with privacy advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and FUTO fighting for years at this point for such a federal law, lobbying money keeps any bills from being introduced.

Ben
Ben
6 days ago

The victim has decided she would rather remain anonymous

Good for her. That’s the kind of windfall that ruins lives even more than being dragged by an autonomous car.

Seriously, read the horror stories about lottery winners sometime. For some reason it triggers the asshole gene in everyone they come in contact with. If you win the lottery, do not say anything about it in your connected car that is definitely spying on you.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
6 days ago
Reply to  Ben

Sorry I disagree give me 8 million I will accept the consequences.

The Dude
The Dude
6 days ago
Reply to  Ben

I’ve heard stories about lottery winners moving into nice neighborhoods and their neighbors hate them because they didn’t “earn” their money. Really I think their neighbors just have an inferiority complex because someone has more money than them.

Ben
Ben
6 days ago
Reply to  The Dude

I think the craziest one I heard was a highly successful business owner who already had an 8 figure net worth and won a 7 figure lottery. People he had know for years suddenly filed so many BS lawsuits against him he ended up poorer than he started.

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
6 days ago

Everyone walking around with tiktok on their cell phones but the cars that can only fit on roads which already have cameras on them are the issue, sure.

Cyko9
Cyko9
6 days ago

I’m really not a fan of transferring data on the Internet when it doesn’t need to be. The ‘Net is already full of superfluous data, so why add my driving habits? Would vehicle manufacturers maintain huge servers, or more likely, pay for cloud space to store all this data? Could insurance companies possibly pay enough to make it worthwhile? I guess eventually I’ll have to get a “connected” vehicle, but my phone spies on me enough, I’d rather have an off-grid vehicle.

And that ELO video is bonkers! Over produced for… no particular reason? The song is typical, but that is a weird video.

Vee
Vee
5 days ago
Reply to  Cyko9

GM is one of Amazon’s biggest customers for Amazon Web Services. So yes, they do use cloud storage. Terribly insecure cloud storage handled by a third party. As far as I know they don’t give the information to insurance companies because both are at odds with eachother. Manufacturers want cheaper insurance so more people buy, and insurers want higher premiums so their payout ratio is lower.

Mike
Mike
6 days ago

re data sharing: My XJ may be leaving a drip trail of vital fluids at any moment. Does that count?

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
6 days ago
Reply to  Mike

Police: Where were you last night between 9PM and 12PM?
Me: I was home all night.
Police: Can you prove it?
Me: Look at the puddle in my driveway.

Beto O'Kitty
Beto O'Kitty
6 days ago

Yes I do and I think it’s zero. But what do I know. After storm chasing my 2012 Soul’s antenna was damaged (rear flank down draft). So I removed it and David Tracy has yet to find an OEM one in a junkyard to replace it.

Loudog
Loudog
6 days ago

The “25Gig of data per hour” is a scary number, but there’s no way in heck that they’re sending anywhere near that amount back from a vehicle continuously. Much of it is aggregated on the platform and only the interesting bits are forwarded. Still… yeah, we need to have more control over it. Your cell phone is way scarier and dangerous that way though.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
6 days ago

NOVA just ran an episode about data privacy last night.(not about in cars) Your average Joe doesn’t bother to go through the menus to opt-out, stop tracking on their phones, and computers, and that is a security risk. There can be positive outcomes derived from big data as long as personal identification is stripped out of it. The law is very behind the curve on this, and needs to get its act together. I’m sure Rootwyrm could elaborate.

https://www.pbs.org/video/secrets-in-your-data-eq39xb/

James Carson
James Carson
6 days ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

Problem with anonymised data is with a bit of analytics the data can be confidently traced back to you.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
6 days ago
Reply to  James Carson

Yeah, I’m not a fan, and won’t buy a connected car, nor link my phone to one.

James Carson
James Carson
6 days ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

Well if you have a phone then they’re most of way there already. Who needs a car.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
6 days ago
Reply to  James Carson

No location, no data service, and turned off.

James Carson
James Carson
6 days ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

So ewaste?

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
6 days ago
Reply to  James Carson

Grandfathered to a pre-pay T-mobile cell plan, have Google voice account(still free VOIP) that I use 99.99% for calls, buy one or two year old,new old stock smart phones, and only pay $25 a year to keep T-mobile account active if I need to call AAA where I don’t have wifi. don’t have any active apps that locate or share.

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