If you are like many people today, you simply hop into your car, turn it on, and never even think about the data that is collected from it each and every day. It’s the ultimate no-brainer, but do you ever wonder exactly what kind of information is gathered as well as who has access to it? In this age of high security and the danger of hackers looming in almost every aspect of our lives, many people are concerned about the consequences and potential pitfalls associated with automotive telematics.
At Painters Collision Centers, with two locations in Chandler and Queen Creek, AZ, we have become computer experts in addition to being painters, metal technicians, and diagnosticians. Today’s vehicles are large computers on four wheels, so staying on top of the technology is a job that never ends.
Why Onboard Computers Exist
In response to the Clean Air Act, automakers developed systems that could regulate engine functions in hopes of managing exhaust issues and minimizing the release of pollutants into the atmosphere. These onboard computer systems are designed to alert drivers that their emission-control systems weren’t performing optimally. They even keep track of the problems using trouble codes to identify them.
What Came Next
Not too long after the first onboard computer systems became integral components of new vehicles, certain safety features also fell under computer control. Just think about some of the convenient features you have available now, including antilock brakes and cruise control. In fact, today, most automotive components are now directly connected to a computer.
Telematics Devices and What They Are Capable of Doing
Known as telematics devices, the latest computer systems designed for vehicles do more than most drivers realize. Sure, they manage things like the vehicle’s air conditioning system or engine performance, but they also collect a lot of data. How do they do it? Using onboard sensors that are connected to your car’s components, the telematics devices capture information about your use of the brakes, accelerator, car locks, cruise control, GPS unit, and just about everything else you operate while in the car. Why do they do it? While the easy answer is that they do it because they can, it is actually a lot more involved than that.
Automakers use the information collected by the computers to offer certain types of services to drivers with the goal of simplifying the maintenance issues related to car ownership. All of the collected information is streamed through to the automakers, enabling them to send out alerts regarding necessary maintenance tasks. Sometimes, the alerts are sent to the vehicle’s dashboard display, but in other cases, it is sent directly to a dealer.
Intrusion or Assistance?
While there is no denying that telematic devices can simplify car ownership by letting drivers know when they need to put some air into their tires or have their brakes changed, a problem arises over who has access to all of the information that is collected. Currently, drivers have no control over the information that is collected in this manner. Is your information safe or should you be concerned that someone else knows where your car is at any given moment?
Why Today’s Drivers Like Connected Cars
One of the reasons why so many of today’s drivers like the idea of having a connected car is the simple fact that it makes life so much easier. Automatic reminders provide the kind of convenience that is needed for busy lifestyles. Just think about how much you’ve come to rely on the lights or sounds that go off when you forget to put on your seatbelt, and that’s just one example! Drivers also enjoy the ability to sync up their personal smart phones and electronics in order to connect with friends, family, and business associates while out on the road.
Who Has the Right to the Data Collected by Onboard Computers?
Currently, there are no hard-and-fast rules as to who should be able to have access to data gathered through telematics devices. In fact, many drivers aren’t even aware of exactly what kind of information is collected, creating greater concern over the lack of official guidelines. While this type of system is useful in helping motorists care for their vehicles, it also places too much personal information, such as driving habits, into the hands of employees working at car companies.
Life is always a series of trade-offs and telematics is another one of those things. We like the technology, but are we giving away too much information in the process? That’s the billion-dollar question—so make your own call and realize that the age of telematics is here to stay.
About Painters Collision Centers
Today’s vehicles are essentially large computers on wheels, so you need a collision repair company with the right tools, equipment, and training to diagnose and fix these sophisticated machines at a high level. At Painters Collision Centers, with two locations in Chandler and Queen Creek, AZ, we stress quality, transparency, and complete accountability. People praise us for being thorough and providing over-the-top customer service on every repair. When you hire us at Painters Collision Centers, you tap into our 35 years of cumulative experience in the collision repair industry. Owners Jim and Kelly Huard aren’t just in it to win it. They’re in it to be the best!