Vehicle-generated data is the new frontier for the development of future of mobility. Today’s connected vehicles (cars, trucks and busses) offer consumers innovative new services, and bring significant downstream business development potential for all stakeholders in the automotive sector, including, but not limited to, navigation (real-time localization/traffic information), infotainment (access to online movies/music), maintenance (fleet management/remote diagnostics/vehicle recovery), insurance (pay-as-you-drive/claim investigation), traffic efficiency (reduced congestion), sustainability (reduced fuel consumption), and safety. However, this requires the right legal framework, which enables all stakeholders to access data generated by vehicles, starting with individual consumers and fleet owners, and extending through Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), parts suppliers, vehicle repairers, and the other many players across the entire transportation sector. This vehicle-generated data is related to nearly every aspect of the vehicle’s operation and has been historically accessed through a physical “on-board diagnostics” (e.g., OBD-II in passenger cars) port. A growing number of vehicles are transitioning to wireless access, bypassing the in-cabin, wired-access port. Increasingly, vehicle owners’ access to the data their vehicles generate is being restricted by the technology embedded in the vehicle.
Vehicle-generated data – whether accessed through a wired port or wirelessly -- already provides many benefits to both consumers who own individual cars and companies that own dozens or thousands of vehicles. But these benefits will only be realized if vehicle owners: (1) retain the ability to securely access and control the data their vehicles (and equipment attached to their vehicles) generate, collect and store; (2) without artificial barriers that reduce consumer choice or competition; (3) in real-time through secure, technology-neutral, standards-based, in-vehicle access; and, (4) without obtaining consent from an entity that does not own or lease the vehicle.
Two significant public policy challenges are on the near-term horizon with respect to owner rights with respect to control of and access to vehicle-generated data: (1) the danger of reduced consumer choice if access to vehicle-generated data is controlled by entities other than the owner or lessee of the vehicle; and, (2) a high risk of reduced competition for mobility services – in fact of vertical monopolization -- if entities that do not own or lease the vehicles – such as vehicle manufacturers or software providers -- are permitted to restrict and control access to vehicle-generated data that is created by the vehicle owner’s or lessee’s use of a vehicle.
There is nothing more important than safety and security when discussing motor vehicles, including securing the data collected and stored by vehicles. Unfortunately, cybersecurity as it relates to these vehicles is often viewed as an “either/or” proposition in terms of vehicle owner rights and data access. It is factually incorrect to posit that data access cannot be provided to vehicle owners due to the need to protect the integrity of a vehicle’s data system. In fact, industry standards are already in place that will permit data to be both accessible and controllable by vehicle owners while still ensuring a high level of cyber security.
The American Alliance for Vehicle Owners’ Rights (AAVOR) believes Congress should have the lead role in guaranteeing vehicle owners and lessees access to and control of all data generated, collected and stored by vehicles. AAVOR supports enactment of legislation that safeguards the rights of vehicle owners to:
The rights of vehicle owners to control and access the data generated by their vehicles is too important to be left unaddressed by Congress. AAVOR supports bi-partisan, bi-cameral legislative efforts to establish a framework for securing the continued rights of vehicle owners – and entities that secure the express permission of vehicle owners -- to control and access vehicle-generated data on a real-time, secure and competitive basis.
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