Chevin urges fleet data control

Fleets should fight to retain control and ownership of their vehicles’ data – despite the likelihood of coming under pressure from manufacturers and others.

The situation is likely to be caused by the development of the connected car over the next few years, according to Chevin Fleet Solutions, and the desire of manufacturers to use the resulting data to learn about vehicle use or influence driver behaviour.

Managing director of Chevin Fleet Solutions, Ashley Sowerby said, ‘Manufacturers can gain some key benefits from connected cars. Firstly, they can gather hitherto unimaginable levels of information about how their cars are used in the real world. This enables them to develop better products in the future or spot emerging faults, for example.

‘Connected cars can also potentially influence driver and owner behaviour. For example, they could flag up servicing requirements and book the vehicle in with the nearest franchise dealer.’

But Ashley warned that the technology opened the door to more complex areas – such as the issue of data ownership. Similarly, he warned, the vehicle that booked into a franchise dealer would take away some of the choice over which service or maintenance outlet the driver or fleet manager chose.

Ashley explained, ‘Like a lot of difficulties surrounding data, it is a question of creating the best balance between benefits and privacy and choice. This is why fleets should be fighting to retain overall ownership and control of their vehicle data, bearing in mind a whole range of issues from employee right to privacy through to operational policies.

‘The technology is already here and many vehicles are already fitted with connected car features that manufacturers are using to collect data. Our belief is that fleets should be having an open dialogue that aims to tackle these subjects early on.’