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Big Data Roadblocks Will Slow Driverless Cars ­ntil 2040, Analyst Says

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Credit: Granby Police Department Blog

Despite aggressive predictions on the time frame for mainstream adoption of driverless cars due to progress in autonomous vehicle technology, some experts say privacy concerns and other issues might delay widespread adoption until 2040.

Google's promising driverless car prototype prompted the company to forecast that autonomous cars will be on the road within three to five years, while Ford Motor executive chairman Bill Ford predicts the technology will be commonplace on U.S. roadways by 2025. However, IDC's Sheila Brennan says that although the cars will be street-ready in the next few years, regulatory, cybersecurity, privacy, safety, and interoperability issues will slow adoption for many years to come.

A critical issue in consumer adoption will be the use of data collected by autonomous vehicles, which includes the car's destinations, speed, and component functioning. Manufacturers are likely to request privacy waivers, as one car maker already has done. Consumer attitudes toward privacy might soften as social media accustoms users to handing over data, but conversely the rise of big data might increase sensitivity toward the issue, Brennan says. Vehicle data will be sought by car companies, insurers, advertisers, and municipalities, making data-sharing agreements a potentially profitable proposition.

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