Andy Latham, Managing Director of Salvage Wire provided us with an insight into the control and storage of data and its impact within the vehicle recycling industry.
“I recently spent some time looking at a 1923 electric car. It has seven 6 volt batteries in the front of the vehicle and another seven at the rear, marketed directly at women because it was easy to use, and by 1925 pretty much every single electric vehicle had ceased production and motor vehicles were almost exclusively powered by internal combustion engines for the next 90 years.”
The underlying engineering of vehicle design has changed very little since the combustion engine was adopted but in the last few years have seen a massive change in the technology found in cars, fuelled by research and development centres across the world. Cars designed and produced in recent years have the ability to connect to the internet, unlock remotely and update safety features remotely based on performance and usage. But how will this affect the sale of recycled parts? In many ways.
One of the biggest talking points in recent years is the control and storage of data. The use of technology through the inclusion of internet connection, cameras and sensors means automakers are collecting valuable pieces of information about the vehicle and the drive. Concerns about how data is stored, who has access to it and how it is used have dominated thinking around the subject and this extends to the data collected within vehicles for monitoring usage. So far there is little regulation addressing data collected by automakers through vehicle internet connections. In 2014 twenty companies signed a voluntary agreement to seek permission before sharing drivers location, health or behaviour with third parties but this information can still be used by the automakers themselves for sales and profit or internal research. Business consultancy McKinsey has estimated automotive data could be worth $450 billion to $750 billion worldwide by 2030.
A universal solution for protecting personal and valuable data is yet to be found, but the most likely candidate is Blockchain, a system which has come out of digital currency. Blockchain is a process which has the ability to record and store large volumes of data in a manner which is very difficult to manipulate, change and adjust. This system makes it secure and very difficult to manipulate. In theory this could be used to make a comprehensive record of each vehicle against its VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), including servicing and maintenance, warranty claims, accident damage, repairs and so on.
As with many new technologies there is a debate about the benefits and costs of implementing Blockchain in the motor industry. Although the system is protected by high security and difficult to manipulate, there are still important questions to ask about access to the data, ownership of the data and cost implications. Would there be an international association willing to take on the risk of overseeing the system or would it be the responsibility of each engineer? Until there is more discussion over this subject or international interest, these may never be solved.
We are discussing this subject and other key topics which are impacting the recycling industry this year and in the future with auto recyclers from around the world at the International Round Table on automotive recycling 2019 in Norfolk, UK on 23-25 May. Find out more about how you can be involved – www.irt-autorecycling.org
Andy Latham is the Managing Director of Salvage Wire which provides training for Autorecyclers around the world, with a focus on new technology such as data sharing and the safety of hybrid and electric cars. This is based on a presentation first given on 20 March at the International Automobile Recyclers Congress 2019 in Vienna. If you would like to find out more about how Andy can help your company, with training, consultancy and at conferences find out more – www.salvagewire.com