“A” Auto Body has been serving the collision repair needs of Midlothian and surrounding areas since 2000. A family owned and operated auto body repair shop, “A” Auto Body works to get your vehicle back to pre-accident... Read More
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Safety and Security Telematics and What They Mean for Drivers
If you are like the many people living in Midlothian today, you simply hop into your car, turn it on, and don't even think about the data that is being collected from your car each and every day. It’s the ultimate no-brainer, but do you ever wonder what information is being gathered? What about who has access to it? In this age of high security, and the danger of hackers looming in almost every aspect of our lives, "A" Auto Body knows that many people are concerned about the consequences and potential pitfalls associated with automotive telematics. That's why we have collected the information for you, so you can prepared with the knoweldge of what telematics are, and how they work.
Why Onboard Computers Exist
In response to the Clean Air Act, automakers in and out of VA developed systems that could regulate engine functions. This was done in hopes of managing exhaust issues and minimizing the release of pollutants into the atmosphere. These onboard computer systems are designed to alert drivers when their emission-control systems weren't performing optimally, and can even keep track of the problems by using trouble codes to identify them.
What Came Next
Not too long after the first onboard computer systems became integral components of new vehicles, certain safety features also fell under computer control. Just think about some of the convenient features you have available now, including antilock brakes and cruise control. In fact, today, most automotive components are now directly connected to a computer.
Telematics Devices and What They Are Capable of Doing
Known as telematics devices, the latest computer systems were designed to have vehicles do more than most drivers realize. Sure, they manage things like the vehicle's air conditioning system or engine performance, but they also collect a lot of data. How do they do it? Using onboard sensors that are connected to your car's components, the telematics devices capture information about your use of the brakes, accelerator, car locks, cruise control, GPS unit, and just about everything else you'd use while in the car. Why do they do it? While the easy answer is that they do it because they can, it is actually a lot more involved than that.
Automakers use the information collected by the computers to offer certain types of services to drivers, with the goal of simplifying the maintenance issues related to car ownership. All of the collected information is streamed through to the automakers, enabling them to send out alerts regarding necessary maintenance tasks. Sometimes, the alerts are sent to the vehicle's dashboard display, but in other cases, it is sent directly to a dealer.
Intrusion or Assistance?
While there is no denying that telematic devices can simplify car ownership by letting drivers know when they need to put some air into their tires or have their brakes changed, a problem arises over who has access to all of the information that is collected. Currently, drivers have no control over the information that is collected in this manner. Is your information safe or should you be concerned that someone else knows where your car is at any given moment?
Why Today's Drivers Like Connected Cars
"A" Auto Body knows that one of the reasons why so many drivers in and around Midlothian like the idea of having a connected car is simply because it makes life so much easier. Automatic reminders provide the kind of convenience that is needed for busy lifestyles. Just think about how much you've come to rely on the lights or sounds that go off when you forget to put on your seatbelt, and that's just one example! Drivers also enjoy the ability to sync up their personal smart phones and electronics in order to connect with friends, family, and business associates while out on the road.
Who Has the Right to the Data Collected by Onboard Computers?
Currently, there are no hard-and-fast rules as to who should be able to have access to data gathered through telematics devices. In fact, many drivers aren't even aware of exactly what kind of information is collected, creating greater concern over the lack of official guidelines. While this type of system is useful in helping motorists care for their vehicles, it also places too much personal information, such as driving habits, into the hands of employees working at car companies.
Life is always a series of trade-offs, and telematics is another one of those things. We at "A" Auto Body in Midlothian VA know that everyone likes the technology, but are you giving away too much information in the process? That’s the billion dollar question—so make your own call and realize that the age of telematics is here to stay.