The current mobility landscape is being rapidly shaped by changing consumer demands, growing environmental concerns, innovative new technologies and global disruptions. These changing conditions have also been amplified as a result of the COVID-19 disruption to businesses and shifting consumer behavior.
In 2020 and beyond, there will be a gaining momentum for automakers to reimagine the movement of people and products. However, the question remains of how far that momentum will carry the industry.
Through this Forward Thinking series on Mobility, explore key insights on how OEMs and new entrants can manage new business models, operations, partnerships and approaches, all while keeping pace with the rapid rate of change in global regulation.
Additionally, these articles shed light on key legal areas such as corporate, transaction, employment, tax, IT, IP, dispute resolution as well as regulatory and compliance matters. Gain insights on how to navigate the legal complexities surrounding areas such as building new revenue streams, digitizing supply chains, integrating sustainability as well as exploring partnerships, investments, JVs, M&A for innovation and growth. Understand what's needed to protect the commercial value of data through monetizing data sources and how to anticipate, prepare and thrive through shifting regulation of data collection, storage and sharing.
Forward Thinking Mobility Series
How to Build A Winning Data Strategy for Future Mobility
Automakers are on a transformational journey to become mobility providers – shifting from the traditional build-and-sell model to reimagine the movement of people and products. Data is the fuel for that journey. Today it is collected in unimaginable volumes to underpin innovation and enable change – from autonomous vehicles to connected cars.
The new commercial opportunities in this category are significant – presenting benefits to customers as well as Governments, insurers, after-market suppliers and fleet managers. But building data-enabled products and services is complex. To avoid costly missteps, automakers need a comprehensive data strategy to balance the demands of customers and regulators at every stage of the product lifecycle. Lothar Determann outlines these development phases and the relevant legal considerations for the treatment of data:
Consumers are demanding increasingly sophisticated technology “on the road”. Automakers too have identified opportunities to transform driving experiences and design new covetable products to meet and shape customer demand.
Connected solutions in particular are proving to be game-changers – mobility products and services that interact with the outside world to optimize operation and maintenance as well as convenience and comfort.
Consumers benefit from connectivity, adaptability, sustainability and information technology functionality. They need open cars.1
The extent to which vehicles operate open or closed systems has multiple ramifications for data protection, as well as the longevity of the car and desirability of the brand.
Mobility-as-a-Service clearly demands a move towards open cars but this creates practical complexities for automakers as they build new offerings.
To qualify as an open car, an automotive product must be available for technology upgrades, after-market products and security researchers. Whilst it does not need to run on open source data or software, it must have open interfaces and openly disclosed software and hardware.
Cars are now “networks on wheels” – becoming safer, more automated, connected and personalized. A driver’s preferred route can be logged and saved, the car can park itself, restaurant adverts can be served up at just the right time and driving behaviours logged.
Next generation cars and mobility solutions at large are underpinned by data. Autonomous vehicles cannot operate without real-time access to road safety and accident data. Connected cars will not function unless they are set up to continuously gather, share and communicate user information and preferences. Travellers need shared systems and technology to move seamlessly around cities.
Therefore, to make mobility operational longterm, it is essential to ensure access to reliable data.
1 Lothar Determann and Bruce Perens, Open Cars, 32 Berkeley Tech. L. J. 915 (2017).
Innovative products rely on a value exchange. Automakers and manufacturers offer new capabilities and comforts, and consumers supply the data that enables them to operate. But research indicates that consumers are becoming less willing to share personal data, not more.
Careful consideration will need to be given to customer value propositions if they are to willingly grant the use of their data, balanced with those of law enforcement and insurers. Car owners may not want information collected by their car in an accident to be used in investigations or in court, but they might accept data usage for advertising purposes in return for free services or hardware discounts to remain informed and in control.
Becoming more reliant on Mobility-as-aService for growth requires a mindset shift in relation to data and liability – from the defined-period warranty model associated with products to, in the case of services, a long-term legal obligation to provide access without disruption or failure.
Often the problematic issues of ongoing data collection, data flow between products, platforms and jurisdictions, and the transfer of customer data is not considered until after the service is operational. Similarly, automakers also may need to address concerns about excessive liability for third party actions and omissions under current product liability law.
Resolving these earlier in the build phase is key to success.
There is general consensus that data privacy regulation is outdated in relation to mobility. European law in particular blurs the distinction between collecting the necessary safety data for connected or autonomous cars to function, and leans towards categorizing all data collected as personal. In an autonomous car with live streaming cameras this is particularly problematic, as it’s not clear whether the data is personal to the driver, the other vehicles on the road or perhaps even the pedestrian.
While regulatory considerations may encourage automakers to lock down systems and software, the connected car relies on information exchanges for safety and technical purposes. But it is possible for automakers to protect data as well as realizing opportunities associated with the connected car.
Automakers should consider data access – working with manufacturers, tech companies and others to build platforms that enable continual safety, security and experience upgrades, operate seamlessly with other consumer technology and open up new aftermarket sales opportunities.