Deliberate Guardian Kind: Car Knowledge Dispute

Status: 01/31/2022 11:27 AM

Modern vehicles collect millions of data that is much needed by companies, insurance companies and authorities. The federal government plans a data custodian – which manufacturers criticize.

The federal government is facing resistance from manufacturers with its plan to acquire a car data custodian. In accordance with the will of the traffic light parties, this guardian must ensure that car owners rule over the wealth of data that their cars produce. In addition, it must provide access to the data to authorities, insurance companies, TÜV, and auto repair shops.

The VDA fears additional bureaucracy as well as abuse as a result of the trustee concept: “The VDA rejects the so-called trustee model for data transmission because we believe it has various flaws,” said VDA General Manager Joachim Damaske.

The dispute revolves around many conflicting interests and open questions: from car repairs to the development of new business models. This includes the availability of vehicle data to investigate accidents as well as the question of whether vehicle manufacturers and suppliers will have to share the fruits of their software development with third-party companies in the future.

The coalition agreement between SPD, Greens and the FDP states: “For the competitively neutral use of vehicle data, we strive for a custodian model that appropriately takes into account the access needs of users, private service providers, and government agencies as well as interests from affected companies and developers.” Details of the plans are not yet known.

Insurance companies want access after the accident

The guardian of car data has been discussed for years, at the great initiative of Allianz, the largest German insurance company. First of all, Allianz and insurers are concerned with unhindered access to data after damages and accidents: “It is important not to be a market participant,” says Christoph Lauterwasser, president of the Allianz Center for Technology (AZT), about the planned custodian. “When it comes to clarifying accidents or product liability, for example, the data custodian should not be an insurer, a car manufacturer, or anyone else actively involved in these issues, but an impartial body.”

The GDV Insurance Association demands that its member companies have the right to access vehicle data, but it has not adhered to a specific model. “The data from networked cars does not belong to the manufacturers” – it is the property of their owners, said GDV General Manager Asmussen. “Whether this competition-neutral access to the data takes place via the trustee model or otherwise is of secondary importance.”

Counter suggestion from the manufacturer

According to the managing director of VDA Damasky, the auto industry is basically ready to share the data generated in the car. “We want to make vehicle data accessible to third parties, but at the same time ensure that it cannot be tampered with during transportation.”

The manufacturers’ counter-proposal is to leave vehicle data in the care of the industry and create a “trust center,” a facility that Damasque said could certify the quality of the data. From the manufacturers’ point of view, vehicle owners must give their consent for the third party’s use of vehicle data.

Who gets access?

“We believe that the guardian model reduces data release and is not easy to use. For this reason, we support queries from a single source, ie via the vehicle manufacturer’s backend,” says VDA official. With the backend in IT -Language it means the parts of a computer system that are not visible to users, i.e. server computers and other infrastructure.

Finally, Damasky prompts for a custom version. From the manufacturer’s point of view, not every interested party should have unlimited access to vehicle data right from the start. It looks different at Allianz: “Independent third parties” should also be able to provide services “without the car maker acting as the gatekeeper,” says AZT Principal Lauterwasser.

Conclusions about leadership style

Modern networked cars collect a large amount of data that allows inferences to be drawn about usage profile, intensity of usage, number of drivers or even driving style, the ADAC has established. The car club considers a problem that the customer who is driving the car does not know exactly what data the car is stored. Also, he can’t access it.

This is why ADAC Chief Technical Officer asks Kasten Schulze: “Drivers should be able to choose and opt-out of providers and data-driven services themselves. In concrete terms, this means that the EU Commission should make a legislative proposal for free, secure and manufacturer-independent access to vehicle data.”

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