Data Platform Provider Otonomo Announces Partnership with BMW Group to Aggregate Vehicle Generated Data

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【Summary】Automotive data services company Otonomo announced today a new partnership with German automaker BMW Group to increase the utilization of crowd-sourced data from BMW or MINI vehicles.

Eric Walz    May 21, 2020 3:00 PM PT
Data Platform Provider Otonomo Announces Partnership with BMW Group to Aggregate Vehicle Generated Data

The connected cars of the future will be able to communicate with traffic lights, other vehicles and even embedded roadways sensors that can relay real-time traffic data to help a driver navigate around traffic jams. This type of vehicle technology is known as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and it's not too far off in the future. 

However, one question that remains is "Where does all of this vehicle data go, and what can it be used for?"

Imagine if an automaker knew everywhere you traveled each day and what your favorite shopping preferences are. They probably already do. But what if this data is shared anonymously with other drivers to help alleviate traffic and make the roads safer for all? These are important questions, as more and more vehicles are being connected to the internet.

This data might be highly valuable to third parties but some driver's are not comfortable with it being shared, that's why some automakers are hesitant to share it with anyone other than their most trusted industry partners. 

Automotive data services platform operator Otomono is addressing this very issue. The Israeli-based automotive data services company announced today a new partnership with German automaker BMW Group to increase the utilization of crowd-sourced data from BMW or MINI vehicles.

As a result of the new partnership, crowd sourced data is being collected from various BMW Group vehicles in more than 44 countries, along with data from Otonomo's other automotive partners. 

BMW vehicle data includes telematics data that is regularly sent by BMW and MINI vehicles and can be used for a multitude of personal use cases. It's being made available to service providers who are registered on the Otonomo Platform. 

The data being collected by Otonomo ranges from vehicle status, such as the battery voltage, fuel level, vehicle speed, remote diagnostics, location, distance traveled, average fuel consumption, to environmental data such as current road conditions or temperature.

"Otonomo has long focused on building an ecosystem around car data that is open to many parties and inclusive for many use cases," said Ben Volkow, Chief Executive Office and Founder of Otonomo. "We're excited to be able to expand this ecosystem with crowd data from BMW and MINI vehicles." 

Otonomo, founded in 2015, operates a neutral "Automotive Data Services Platform", which now consists of data collected anonymously from millions of passenger and commercial vehicles in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia. The company said its neutral platform securely collects more than 2 billion data points each day from over 20 million vehicles. 

Otonomo offers data from multiple OEMs and fleets, along with millions of connected vehicles, providing a detailed picture of the roads.

Modern vehicles are really becoming rolling computers, generating a large amount of data from driving in urban areas. Some of the ways connected vehicles generate data streams are from their infotainment units, fuel systems, cameras used for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and other systems that monitor vehicle operations. 

For example, the ultrasonic sensors that BMW vehicles use for parking can also be used to identify open parking spots and estimate parking availability, provided that this data is made available from companies like Otonomo. Otonomo's data platform will also support personalized services for drivers of BMW and MINI vehicles. 

Otonomo is also working with car rental company Avis, providing data that helps the company maintain its vehicles and manage its rental fleet to better serve customers.  

Other uses for the data include emergency services, navigation, EV management, subscription-based fueling services, parking, predictive maintenance, usage-based insurance, and in-vehicle services, along with dozens of smart city services. 

Normalizing Vehicle Data for Other Purposes

Otonomo said that the vehicle data generated was originally intended for monitoring vehicle operations, not for powering internet connected mobility services. Therefore, in order for the data to be effectively used by developers of apps and services, its raw format requires additional processing, which is Otonomo's core business. The data must first be acquired, cleaned and securely secured before its made available to third parties.

Otonomo said that privacy is at the core of its platform, which enables GDPR, CCPA and other privacy-regulation-compliant solutions for using personal and aggregate data. 

Once collected from a vehicle, the next steps are converting it to a consistent format understood by mobility services and analyzed so insights can be pulled from it. Finally, the data is anonymized to meet the consumer privacy preferences. Part of the privacy process includes scrubbing VIN numbers from vehicle data or any other personal identifiers.

From there, Otonomo aggregates and normalizes the raw data to make it usable for internet-based applications and to mobility service providers so these companies can utilize it to assist drivers.

Otonomo makes its data available in various API formats that customers can integrate into their products. For example, The fuel status information provided by Otonomo from a BMW vehicle can be used to recommend a nearby gas station or provide personalized offers to drivers, to entice them to visit.

For drivers of electric vehicles, Otonomno offers a "Electric Vehicle Status" bundle, which consists of an EV's current state of charge and range remaining. This information can be used for a variety of services, including "at home" smart charging stations, load balancing, road trip planning, and personalized public charging sessions.


Otonomo's Vehicle Data is Valuable to Urban Planners

Otonomo said will make additional data available for smart cities and real-time traffic services. Otonomo is making the BMW crowd sourced data available to help reduce urban congestion and improve the driving experience for all road users. 

Vehicle data collected by Otonomo can be used by cities for urban planning projects and other smart city initiatives. For example, the content and location of road signs detected by forward-facing cameras from BMW vehicles can help city planners to better understand traffic flows throughout the day, to see how rush hour impacts a city's roads.

This crowd sourced data can also be used by infrastructure, such as smart road signage that warn of slowdowns or slippery road conditions. This might include speed limits or temporary road and speed changes caused by road construction. The data can also be used by mapping service providers to keep maps updated based on real-time road conditions.

Perhaps the most beneficial use for drivers is using vehicle data to provide real-time traffic information. For example, the data collected from BMW or MINI vehicles can be used by navigation services to identify areas of congestion and help drivers avoid it.

In addition to live traffic data, BMW's vehicle data can be used to alert drivers via the vehicle's navigation service of any dangerous road conditions, such as heavy rain or icy conditions.

Otonomo has a R&D center in Israel, as well as a presence in Silicon Valley, Europe, and Japan. The company is collaborating with twelve industries to transform their business with aggregate vehicle data. As more connected vehicles go online, there will be a growing need for companies like Otonomo to manage all of the vehicle data that's generated. 

Otonomo's investors include Bessemer Venture Partners, Aptiv, Dell Capital, Hearst Ventures, StageOne Ventures, and Maniv Mobility. 

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