Connected cars, powered by AI, will make up 95% of all vehicles on the road by 2030

Each connected car will generate 25 gigabytes of data per hour. But most drivers don't understand what data is being collected.
Written by Vala Afshar, Contributing Writer
aerial view of roadway
Jackal Pan/Getty Images

A survey of more than 2,000 car owners and lessors in the United States revealed that only a few drivers understand what a 'connected car' is and what data is actually being collected, according to Salesforce research. 

Also: LG goes gaga for AI and even unveils a product or two at CES 2024

This gap might be surprising to some, but it is also an opportunity for automakers to articulate the connected car experience and their data use policies, particularly in an age of artifical intelligence

Connected cars are forecast to make up 95% of all vehicles on the road by 2030, with each one generating an estimated 25 gigabytes of data per hour, which is the same amount of data as it would take someone to stream 578 hours of music

The research also highlights some other important findings: 

  1. Drivers do not fully understand the benefits of the connected car: Over two-thirds (65%) of drivers are unfamiliar with the concept of a connected car, including more than a third (37%) of drivers who have never heard the term before. Once the definition of the connected car was understood by consumer, drivers ranked connected features -- Apple CarPay or Android Auto integration, gaming or video streaming, diver assist features, Wi-Fi/in-car data, smartphone app functionality like remote lock and remote start, emergency assisted services like OnStar, touchscreen console, and over-the-air software updates, and more -- as almost as important as a car's brand.
  2. Greater awareness on the benefits of the connected car is needed: More than six out of 10 drivers say they don't have or aren't using apps such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to do things like make calls, stream music, or use preferred navigation apps.
  3. Premium services can attract vehicle purchases: When it comes to their next vehicle purchase, drivers are most likely to be willing to pay a premium for advanced features, including driver assist (43%), touchscreens (33%), and smartphone integration (31%). One in four drivers said they would be willing to pay more for electric or hybrid vehicles, and just 9% would pay more for in-car apps, games, and videos.
  4. Vehicle owners are willing to share personal data: More than two-thirds (68%) of drivers believe automotive companies should be able to collect personal data, but only 5% say that collection should be unrestricted. Many more (63%) are only comfortable with data collection on an opt-in basis.
  5. Drivers report being willing to trade personal data for valuable benefits: As many as 67% of drivers are willing to trade personal data for better insurance rates (e.g., lower rates for safer driving); 43% of drivers are willing to trade personal data for advanced driver personalization (e.g., personal driver profiles, so the seat, mirror, or entertainment is personalized); and 36% of drivers are willing to trade personal data for enhanced personal safety features, such as real-time vehicle health monitoring and alerts.
  6. Drivers are open to sharing vehicle usage data, but less willing on invasive data: About one-third of drivers are comfortable with data collection on seatbelt usage (35%), driving speed (34%) and location, and route history (31%); more than half (54%) of drivers are comfortable with cars collecting vehicle diagnostics data; and less than a fifth of drivers are comfortable with more invasive types of data collection, such as voice recordings (17%), biometrics (13%), and text messages or voice recording data (12%), which is legal for automakers to collect today.

The future of the automotive industry will be largely driven by innovation in the connected car space. For example, it was revealed at CES 2024 that Qualcomm is collaborating with industry leaders to deliver a comprehensive platform for bringing connected services to vehicles throughout their 20-year lifespan. 

Qualcomm is able to deliver top-notch customer experiences, with personalized in-vehicle services. Access to user data that is stored securely on the vehicle is instrumental to providing experiences that are tailored and timely, including real-time alerts, user-specific offers, proactive maintenance, and on-demand feature upgrades. 

Also: This machine-learning project could help jumpstart self-driving cars again

To help automakers deliver personalized experiences that use fast or real-time analytics to learn and adapt to user preferences, Qualcomm is collaborating with Salesforce to connect its Snapdragon Digital Chassis solutions with the Salesforce Automotive Cloud

This linkup gives automakers a holistic, real-time view of driver and vehicle data, so they can offer personalized experiences in car, online, and at the dealership. Go here to learn more about the connected car and data exchange research findings. 

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