Europe on the Move: Why a data-driven automotive industry is good news for everyone

To allow the transport sector to innovate, Laurent Dartoux believes legislation and scepticism around data sharing must change to boost and accelerate the transformation toward a sustaining and safer society

By Laurent Dartoux

Is President & CEO Bridgestone EMIA

09 Nov 2022

It can be a challenge to decide what is the most compelling and urgent problem facing the transport sector today. For instance, how should businesses choose between decarbonising efforts, and road safety? When it comes to the automotive industry, anything that impacts the lives of drivers and passengers should be a priority.

This is the challenge the automotive industry has set itself—to move on from comfortable business practices and build a disruptive, technically challenging vision of mobility. It is a part of the profound transformation transport is undergoing.

The trick with data though is to put it to good use; and turn it into insights that can actually inform something

It is a welcome change, but not necessarily easy to manage. It requires extensive investment, not to mention that in the competitive world of business, the industry often fails to advance its efforts by coming togethe#r to collectively find solutions.

Fortunately, there is an ace up our sleeve that can enable businesses to do so in a way that doesn’t impact its output or its competitive edge—and that’s data-sharing.

Data has the power to drive innovation and the automotive industry is no stranger to its use. Each business accrues mountains of data generated by vehicles, tyres, customers, suppliers, partners, and more. The trick with data though is to put it to good use; and turn it into insights that can actually inform something.

The opportunity, and the challenge, for the automotive industry is to do this communally. Think of the potential of a network of businesses breaking their insights into driver and road safety, sustainability and performance in unforeseen weather conditions outside of silos.

When it comes to Bridgestone, we believe this level of datasharing is essential to smart city solutions. Currently, drivers in cities suffer from issues such as potholes, dangerous road conditions, inefficient traffic signs, and much more. But with access to more extensive data from the vehicles, we can deliver solutions aimed at driver comfort, sustainability, and safety too.

There is of course some scepticism around data-sharing because of past issues around data breaches, system vulnerability and confidentiality. But the technologies around data-sharing have evolved significantly in recent years to ensure it can be done safely and securely. Data sharing would not only be a win for transport businesses, but consumers too.

The future of data can define the future of transport, if we can get over our scepticism about data-sharing across companies, then we stand to deliver huge benefits for the entire mobility ecosystem. 2023 presents an important opportunity to do this. The Data Act, presented by the EU Commission in March this year, is under review by the co-legislators and will hopefully be finalised soon. But what’s also needed is for the Commission to propose new legislation on access to in-vehicle data. These steps are vital in breaking the current data-sharing impasse and allowing everyone—whether users, service providers or manufacturers—to work in a new way.

Together with proactive support from our sector, data will be thought of as a common value that is shared, entrusted, and protected, and all for one converging objective—change for the better. This can make a considerable contribution, not just to businesses, but to growing consumer awareness of the environmental impact of transport and boost and accelerate our transformation toward a more sustainable and safer society.

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