My Car My Data

Access to data about your mobility habits should only be with your full, informed consent

Access to data about your mobility habits should only be with your full, informed consent

Access to data about your mobility habits should only be with your full, informed consent

Cars equipped with sensors, GPS (location awareness) and communication devices can collect, store and send more and more data about drivers' behaviour, preferences and vehicle status.

Connected car systems available today can help the emergency services rescue you after a crash, tailor commercial offers to your trip or warn you of your car’s maintenance needs.

Data about your car's status, the number of passengers and your driving pattern enables companies to offer personalised services.

There is a rush to control this data and many vehicle manufacturers, who control this data at present, aim to become the service provider for all your car-related needs.

This vehicle connectivity requires an update of the legal framework on access to repair and maintenance information.

Informed consent

The AA and other motoring clubs (members of the FIA) across Europe believe that access to data about your mobility habits should only be with your full, informed consent.

You should be the one who decides if data is shared and with whom it is shared. This would ensure that you have the freedom to choose any service you like for your motoring over the car's lifetime, and would allow service providers to compete freely to offer the most added-value for the data you agree to share.

The European Commission and Parliament should create a framework that allows fair competition among service providers to guarantee free, informed choice of connected vehicle services.

What data is being tracked?

Independent research, commissioned by FIA Region I on behalf of motoring clubs across Europe shows just how much data new vehicles are able to track and transmit.

The investigation of two new vehicles showed that, in addition to driver profiles and vehicle location, trip length and personal information synced from mobile phones is tracked and can be transmitted back to the manufacturer.

The results show just how much vehicles are ‘saying’ about drivers, compared to what consumers may think. Today, only vehicle manufacturers have direct access to this in-vehicle data.

Tracked data Test vehicle 1 (conventionally fuelled) Test vehicle 2 (electric)
Driver profile
  • length of time the driver uses different driving modes
  • Tightening of seatbelts due to sudden braking
  • Number of trips taken and the distance covered
  • Driving mode
  • How and where the car was charged
  • Location of recent charging stations
Vehicle location
  • Latest destinations entered into GPS
  • Last 100 parking locations
  • Where the driver connected to another form of transport (train/bus)
Maintenance information
  • Maximum engine revs
  • Mileage reading
  • Status of vehicle lights
  • Quality of the battery charging
  • Mileage reading
  • Charging plug use
Contact information
  • Personal information syncronised from mobile phones

My Car My Data Infographic

My Car My Data Infographic

Survey results

The FIA commissioned a Europe-wide survey of 12,013 respondents across 12 countries which included 999 respondents in the UK.

  • 54% of respondents (53% in UK) correctly identified the correct definition* of a connected car from a list of possible options.
  • Amongst those who already have a car with connectivity features only 68% claimed to be well informed about the range of data collected, stored and potentially transmitted by their vehicle.
  • The most popular features that respondents would be willing to buy a connected car for were: improved safety (56%), improved fuel economy (48%) and avoiding congestion/improving traffic flow (39%).
  • Almost all (85% overall (88% in the UK) would be willing to share vehicle information in the event of a breakdown. Of these, 92% consider it important or very important (37%) that vehicle owners/drivers can choose the breakdown service provider with which their vehicle shares this data.
  • It is also important to drivers that they can switch off all communication from a connected vehicle if they choose to. Overall 91% agreed that this should be possible.
  • The main concerns when sharing data are the disclosure of private information (88%), the commercial use of personal data (86%) and the risk that hackers could interfere with their driving (85%).
  • When asked 'who is the owner of the data your car generates' 69% (71% in the UK) said the car owner and 41% (46% in the UK) said the car driver. Only 9% (7% in the UK) agreed that the car manufacturer was the owner.
  • When buying a car, car buyers in the UK were the least likely of all countries to read the terms and conditions of service for a connected car before signing the contract (64% overall vs 53% for the UK).
  • Overall 34% of respondents were already aware of connected cars though the UK figure was only 19%, the third lowest level of awareness amongst the 12 countries. Awareness is highest in France (70%) and Germany (57%).

(24 November 2015)


*For the purposes of the survey a connected car was defined as "A car equipped with Internet access that can send and receive data on the vehicle’s status, condition and user preferences. Smartphone applications, car diagnostics and parking recommendations can use the vehicle data and be displayed on the vehicle’s dashboard screen”.