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Driverless Car Data

The Driverless Race for Big Data Supremacy

This week Intel announced a £12.5bn takeover of Mobileye, an Israel based technology company which develops specialist autonomous driving systems. The organisation is one of a host of technology giants to have taken an interest in driverless cars including Google, Apple, Uber, Tesla and Baidu.

However, when it comes to autonomous vehicles Intel does not share the advertising and consumer focus of the other companies, nor is it understood to be developing its own car. The company’s ambitions are set squarely on the technology behind the cars, and the data they process. And there’s a lot of data! The chipmaker estimates that by 2020 one driverless car will generate 4,000 GB, or 4 terabytes, of data a day, whilst the average internet user will use around 1.5 GB.

Autonomous vehicle technology uses machine learning and AI to help cars understand their surroundings and identify different objects or situations by processing data collected by various sensors. Each car has the ability to learn and process information which is automatically shared and re-distributed via the cloud to a network of vehicles.

Driverless Car

This (big) Big Data creates new opportunities for technology companies, many of which are struggling in the slowing PC market and the under-performing mobile market, and there are several companies looking to get a head start. Prior to the acquisition Intel had already been working with Mobileye and BMW, and before that, Tesla. NVIDIA replaced Intel as Tesla’s technology partner and is now also working with Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Plus telecommunications giant Qualcomm has agreed a $47bn acquisition of NXP Semiconductors, a market leading producer of in-car technology, and has recently announced the launch of its “Drive Data Platform” designed to improve data processing capabilities in cars.

So the stage is set for a showdown but of course the implications stretch further than the technology industry. The growth of the autonomous vehicle market looks set to spark a technological revolution, spanning several different industries, with data taking centre stage. And the insurance industry could also have a leading role to play. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is already calling on car manufacturers to provide core safety information which could help determine the cause of a road incident, and who was at fault. Insurers will need to work closely with technology providers in order to collect and process this information effectively.

Although the race for autonomous technologies has started the finish line is not yet visible. But with some manufacturers aiming to have driverless cars on the road by 2020 it may come around sooner than you expect.