In this discussion thread about CuMoCo's digital dashboard we have a few people saying they don't appreciate the personal privacy implications of a vehicle company collecting data, GPS data, etc, from the vehicles they sell.
Despite what I asked in the thread e.g. about location aware advertising etc .. I totally understand the concern. Such as, what if the information leaks out and bad guys or whatnot start to know everywhere we drive. Scary big brother stuff, eh? Well, except that we are all on a slippery slope of e.g. we want to carry cell phones that provide location aware services, but to do that some service provider has to know our movements.
For example a useful feature in an electric vehicle digital dashboard is a map of nearby charging stations. That's a location aware service that has to know where you are, know the capability of your vehicle, know the driving radius, and query from a server the closest available charging station.
Some of the companies selling electric cars are going well beyond this sort of thing. The sorts of things that John discussed are being collected today from Tesla Roadster, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Volt owners, perhaps others.
For example - in the webchat from which I wrote the following article, Nissan's Mark Perry (nice chap, met him once) made it clear that every Nissan Leaf is sending data back to the mothership mainframe in Tokyo. Nissan is using that data to know the usage patterns of electric car drivers, and are rolling that data into future vehicle development.
BTW - a little factoid - there's an annoying feature of the Nissan Leaf that on every time you start up the car, you have to click OK on the information screen, because of the data the Leaf is sending back to Tokyo. The OK is to approve and agree to collecting the data.
While covering the Tesla Roadster bricking story in February, I learned that each Tesla Roadster is sending data back to the mothership mainframe in Palo Alto. Tesla uses the data in similar ways, but it's also used for individual service assistance. What we learned is that Tesla set up triggers in the data collection so that if a given owners car had its battery pack voltage going too low, that Tesla's service team would call up the car owner and tell them to plug the car in. Supposedly one time they couldn't reach the car owner, and had to turn on the GPS tracking system, locate the car, send out a team, and plug the car in.
I think the OnStar system on Chevy Volt's can do similar thing. One thing we learned from the Chevy Volt fire issue is that GM set up OnStar to detect collisions and among other things, if it's a Volt, to dispatch a team to depower the battery pack.