I’m torn about technology and my car. While I love “Bells and Whistles”, there are certain limitations as to what I like and don’t like.
Take OnStar for instance. Push a button, someone on the other end comes on and Presto! – there are the directions you need. Get into an accident, and OnStar is there asking if you are ok. Sounds Great. But what people often miss, if they can access your system – then someone else can as well. This could be malicious 3rd parties, Government Agencies (hopefully under a warrent) or even the manufacturer themselves. Think I am crazy? In 2011, OnStar did announce that it would start retaining all the information collected by the GPS and internal system, so that it could be sold to third parties (possibly insurance companies). Although this data is supposed to be “anonymized”, it remains unclear exactly what they mean by this as it is extremely difficult to anonymize GPS data. A few weeks later, after outcry from subscribers and privacy advocate groups, OnStar reversed the decision to continue collecting information from unsubscribed units.
Just yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report where they examined several US automakers, plus Toyota, Honda and Nissan. What they found, was when it comes to utilizing your tracking data, there is no consistency in policy, with one exception:
“if companies, retained data, they did not allow consumers to request that their data be deleted, which is a recommended practice.”
Hmmmm – my data, but I have no control over its retention?
Pardon me while I break out the tinfoil hat.
This leads me to the true subject of this post – Audi’s Piloted Driving A7 and its Smart City Traffic Light Assistance system.
You see, combining local data sources (updated to your vehicle by Wi-Fi) about traffic light patterns and your speed – the system provides a timer to tell you when the next traffic light will change to green. Awesome. I can see it now – as I approach a light, the car behind me suddenly accelerates and blows right past…because they only had 4 seconds until it turns Red. No accidents happening here – move along citizen. I thought we were supposed to be getting safer. This combined with the texting, eating, grooming, book reading (yes – I have seen this) person driving in the next lane over….and you almost want to stay home.
What do you think? Good idea or bad? Future Safety Hazard or should I stop reading WND.Com? Me personally – I am on the lookout for a Chevy Nova – no electronics in that bad boy.
Have a great Weekend – E