With cars becoming rolling computers, our privacy is in danger. Much like smartphones, a modern infotainment system is always connected to the Internet. This makes us vulnerable to hacks as wrongdoers are exploiting software glitches to obtain personal data. BMW has admitted it’s collecting information from owners, but not without their consent.

Speaking with Australian magazine CarSales, 7 Series product manager Christoph Fagschlunger said the company has been gathering user data in the last three years. It’s not an invasion of their privacy as the German luxury marque asked for permission in advance. How is the obtained data helping BMW? The info is used to speed up the development of next-generation software and hardware.

The data transfer is done when the engine is switched off, be it when start/stop is triggered or when the destination is reached. Interestingly, the packages of info originating from plug-in hybrids and EVs are sent to BMW when the car’s battery is being charged. The supplied information is transferred to Munich via a secure mobile connection. Needless to say, the manufacturer takes care of the costs with the data transfer. After it’s completed, the obtained information is processed for research purposes.

Obtained Data Covers How The Safety And Assistance Systems Are Used

By year’s end, the company should have over 2 billion km (1.24 billion miles) of real-world data supplied by owners. He went on to say that almost 80% agree to share their data when asked by the company. If you’re wondering what sort of info BMW is interested in, here’s what Christoph Fagschlunger said:

“It shows us things like where the active cruise is used, the lane control, how is it used, is there degradation of the systems, and is the customer happy to use it?”

During the analysis conducted so far, BMW realized some features are being used more extensively than others. “The customers with Professional version of the navigation use active cruise control for 60 percent of the whole drive time, which surprised us. But the assistance for the steering, lane keeping, is just 36 percent. Some customers order the full setup, but then, in the modes, they turn the steering assistance off.”

With the 7 Series G70 / i7 debuting in a few days, BMW is expected to take in-car tech to a new level. In a way, owners who have agreed to share their data have lent a helping hand.

Source: CarSales