What is happening with your vehicle data?

Munich, May 31, 2016

Sensors, control units, computer chips: The many electronic helpers in modern vehicles can be at the right moment while a blessing, represent but also attack surface for criticism "Glass user" keyword. The Automobile Club ADAC has examined together with two experts from the German Research Centre for artificial intelligence, how and to what extent deal with sensitive data of modern cars. The study provided interesting insights on the inner workings of the vehicle's electronic system. A Mercedes B-class and a Renault Zoe were investigated. The focus of the study were the questions, what data is collected, where, for what purpose and for how long they are stored and whether they are sent to the outside.

Mercedes allows usage profiles

At B-class it came to the following results: the system saves every two minutes the exact GPS position, the mileage, the consumption, the tire pressure and more driving data in a memory. Also, the number of motorised belt streamlining, as well as the division between urban, agricultural and highway cruising is stored, what allows to draw a conclusion about driving style and usage profile. Still, to high speeds and engine temperatures are stored in the system.

Renault Zoe with remote shutdown

Renault goes a step further in the data collection in the electric car Zoe. All information that are usually external read out of the can data bus can be automatically sent to Renault. So each ride creates a data profile and sent to the manufacturer. Especially sent: When unpaid lease payments Renault can disable at any time recharging the batteries via the mobile network. The car would then remain standing until payment.

Travel profile in BMW

Already by 2015, a BMW 320 d on the data issue and was investigated. The car stores of trips in each driving mode maximum achieved speed and mileage, the number of routes from zero to five, five to twenty, twenty to one hundred and hundred kilometres and the duration. Together with the number of belt streamlining, a meaningful usage profile can be create with the 3 data.

i3 data flood

BMW i3 sends Zoe various data similarly as the Renault directly to the manufacturer. So, a data packet is sent when each of the vehicle is switched off. Was how often driven in which driving modes, when and where is switched to the bus or train users, how often was the charging plug used, how and where was loaded this information are moving directly from the i3 to BMW. The position of the last 16 charging stations and the last 100 parking places of i3 are stored. The latter information is to read but only directly from the vehicle.

ADAC demands more transparency

The ADAC calls for more transparency about due to this newfound knowledge, what data collects, how long the manufacturer in the car and for what purpose they are stored and whether and how often they are sent. This should be created for each car a list from this, the required information for the end user are shown. Also, the user, for example through workshops should get free access to their data. The issue of data security cannot be ignored, so the ADAC. Travel profiles and usage data are very interesting especially for insurance companies, banks and leasing companies. (mf)