Today, different types of data are generated, transmitted, retained, or shared for different purposes, including the operation of the vehicle. These include:
Data generated in an auto, but not transmitted outside the vehicle, that is necessary for the operation of the vehicle:
Within a car, computer systems constantly exchange data to ensure the smooth operation of the vehicle. From steering to braking, crash avoidance, and acceleration, dozens of onboard computers simultaneously share information as consumers travel down the highway. This data is not transmitted outside, or retained in the long-term computer memory, of the vehicle -- unless it is part of a subscription service, in which case owner consent is required under the Privacy Principles.
Data transmitted outside of the vehicle:
Certain functions can require the transmission of data outside the vehicle. For example, automatic crash notification systems transmit data so that emergency responders can be directed to crash scenes with information on the nature of the crash. Diagnostics systems may transmit data outside the car to identify potential maintenance issues.
Data transmitted into and out of the vehicle:
While basic navigation systems are only receivers for directions coming into the car, enhanced navigation systems both transmit and receive data from outside the vehicle so drivers can learn about traffic conditions and get directions. Trip information may be retained for convenient access to previously accessed destinations. For greater convenience, vehicles can also transmit and receive data so consumers can remotely monitor where their car is, remotely start their car, obtain vehicle diagnostics reports and access on-board information services.
Data generation that is required by law:
Certain vehicle data is required by law, such as data pertaining to emissions controls, on-board tire pressure sensors, and gauges. The government requires that event data recorders (also known as “EDRs”) monitor critical information about the vehicles in which they are installed, but this information is only stored for seconds at a time and constantly overwritten -- unless there is a crash and then the data (immediately prior to and after the crash) is recorded for use in analyzing the performance of the vehicle’s safety systems.
Data that is shared:
Technical data regarding such matters as warranty or safety is shared with authorized dealers, who also share this information with automakers. Data may be shared with affiliates for product development. Some information may also be shared for marketing purposes, but only with clear and explicit notice to the vehicle owner or registered user.
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