For automakers, big data is expanding the range of information used in decision making. Compared to the past when car manufacturers could only use a handful of experiences or a small pile of information, now they use big data for developing a new model or providing brand-new services. They also can predict the future of the automobile industry related to Mobility, Electrification, Connectivity, and Autonomous (M.E.C.A.).
The Hyundai Motor Group recently announced the launch of “Hyundai Developers,” an open-platform vehicle data developers’ portal. It aims to create a favorable business environment for the development of customized services and products by start-ups by granting outside access to data gathered through its millions of connected cars and servicing networks on areas including vehicle specifications, condition, and operation.
After Hyundai Motor Group estimated that the importance of big data would grow in the automotive industry, Hyundai established Big Data Team in 2012. Now Big Data Team comprised of Big Data Planning Team, Data Analytics Team 1, Data Analytics Team 2, and Global Data Analytics Team to analyze big data thoroughly.
The role of Big Data Team is essential. For starters, it analyzes data regarding planning, sales, or marketing. It also gathers data from Hyundai cars and analyzes quality. It deals with data such as mileage, remaining battery or location/waiting time of charging stations. These days, Big Data Team manages and analyzes data from overseas offices.
The importance of Big Data will grow in the automotive industry. Senior manager Jeongkyu Park (Big Data Planning Team), manager Hyungsoon Park (Data Analytics Team 1), Senior manager Miseon Kim (Data Analytics Team 2), and Senior manager Junghee Lee (Global Data Analytics Team) talk about Big Data and the future of the industry.
Q. Car manufacturers these days are investing resources in Big Data analysis. When and how did this trend begin?
Jeongkyu Park: There are multiple perspectives regarding Big Data analysis. In my opinion, there have been two changes to the automobile industry.
The first change was made when connected cars emerged and data gathering became necessary. In early 2010, major automakers commercialized their first-generation connected car services. Hyundai started the Blue Link service in 2012. The primary goal was to provide better services for the customers. The data were gathered from connected cars, and the automakers started to think about ways to utilize the data.
At the same time, hardware and software that can analyze Big Data emerged. People started to use the term Big Data. Other industries already succeeded in utilizing Big Data. These could count as milestones.
Q. Hyundai Motor Group started to focus on Big Data since 2012. How about other competitors?
Jeongkyu Park: So far, Hyundai Motor Group has been considered as a Fast Follower(a company that quickly imitates the innovations of its competitors), especially when it comes to car manufacturing. But Hyundai should be counted as one of the pioneers who started to use Big Data. Compared to other competitors who started to process Big Data quite recently, Hyundai already established Big Data Team back in 2012.
Q. How is Big Data collected from connected cars classified?
Miseon Kim: There are three types of big data: Structured, Semi-Structured, and Unstructured data. Firstly, structured data is the data stored in a database. This is what people regularly and normally used to deal with. It has a defined format and length so that they can be analyzed.
Unstructured data is information that either does not have a pre-defined data model, or in other words, is not organized in a pre-defined manner. Unstructured information is typically from texts, images, and videos. The data collected from connected cars is usually unstructured. This results in irregularities and ambiguities that make it difficult to understand using traditional programs as compared to data stored in fielded form in databases or annotated in documents. So we organize it in a defined manner first before we analyze it. Sensory data collected from vehicles, for example, is unstructured data.
Q. How does Hyundai Motor Group collect and process big data?
Junghee Lee: Hyundai Motor Group collects and processes a huge amount of data every single day, including structured data such as production/sales data and in-house system data, and the ones collected from outside such as social media, weather data, geographic data, or real-time traffic data.
The processes comprise collecting, preprocessing(a data mining technique that involves transforming raw data into an understandable format), storing, and managing. We put much effort into applying an algorithm to get refined data.
Hyundai Motor Group recently created the CDO (Chief of Data Officer) position back in September, to gather, manage, and analyze data more systematically. This tells how Hyundai Motor Group cares about processing Big Data.
Q. Everyone knows the importance of Big Data already. How do automakers use Big Data?
Junghee Lee: Hyundai Motor Group uses Big Data for product planning, automobile development, quality improvement, manufacture, logistics, and customer services. We have recently broadened the usage even for overseas branches.
Through the Big Data analysis, we use optimization methodology to maximize the effectiveness of the utilization of our resources. For example, we could increase the error recognition rate through deep learning algorithm, or decrease the logistics cost through logistics optimization analysis. There are many ways to utilize Big Data.
For your information, Big Data can be useful for providing customer-centric services or product development. Considering recent business models based on a mobility industry, the usage of Big Data is endless.
Q. Is there any actual example of applications of Big Data?
Jeongkyu Park: The Chief of Data Officer aims to maximize the effectiveness of the work process through data analysis. One thing you should keep in mind is that the analysis should be useful for our work. What matters for the CDO is whether the result of the Big Data analysis is applicable or not.
Here are some examples of the application of data analysis. There are popular features that our customers use, and the product development team tries to make those features as easily as possible by using data analysis.
The manufacturing department seeks to reduce errors based on the relation between the supply condition and the error rate. The team is getting better and better at manufacturing quality cars.
Q. It sounds like automakers can manufacture better cars if they could utilize Big Data effectively, but I don’t think consumers can actually feel that Big Data is useful enough.
Hyungsoon Park: It takes time for services based on Big Data analysis to reach consumers in their daily lives. For example, Hyundai announced its plan to bring usage-based insurance (UBI) programs to Hyundai customers in the future, lowering insurance premiums for drivers. This also means Hyundai will utilize the driving data via its Blue Link connected car service from consenting car owners, and assess individual driving behavior. Thanks to the Big Data analysis by Blue Link, Hyundai can encourage safer and more efficient driving.
Q. How about the Big Data usage on mobility services such as car sharing?
Hyungsoon Park: The role of Big Data is important in the mobility service sector. When it comes to car-sharing services, the distribution of available cars is crucial. Sometimes they offer one-way carsharing services on secluded roads because they could use Big Data analysis strategy to calculate how much the benefit this service could bring to them.
The development of a dynamic router platform, which allows the car to navigate the best routes in real-time for drivers, is also another example of the mobility services. We expect the service to evolve as it gathers data about real-time traffic, weather, and user preferences.
Q. Can the Big Data analysis prevent accidents when a car is in danger?
Hyungsoon Park: Using Big Data, it is possible. A car decked with various kinds of sensors can detect its surroundings accurately. When a vehicle slips over on the road or passes a pothole, it can detect dangers through the sensors and send warnings for the cars behind it. It will send out the alarm just because a single car slipped over on the road, of course.
This is when Big Data swoop in. If multiple vehicles slip over on the same road, the data will become much more reliable. This is one of the advantages that Big Data have.
Q. What are the other future technologies or services that could utilize Big Data?
Miseon Kim: Using similar a method, we could also prevent unexpected malfunction. If Big Data analysis can figure out when exactly the car needs a checkup, we could apply the information to the rest of the same model. This technology will make it safer to drive without having a mechanic look at your car.
Other services are being prepared as well. The first example would be an app to help you charge your electric vehicle. After analyzing the user data, the app will guide the driver to the nearest charging station or let him know how long he has to wait in line.
Hyundai Motor Group not only manufactures cars but also provides its customers with various services. The CDO will do its best to help the Hyundai customers to feel comfortable and safe.
Q. How would Big Data be used in the automotive industry? And what role would Hyundai Motor Group play?
Jeongkyu Park: For autonomous vehicles to be fully developed, the help of Big Data and artificial intelligence is essential. It is expected that in the future, smart spaces will be created. Smart spaces are physical environments interconnected with future technologies such as the Internet of Things, Big Data, or artificial intelligence. Smart spaces will integrate mobility with houses and offices, breaking boundaries between these spaces.
Hyundai Motor Group is one of the pioneers who can lead the related industries because Hyundai Motor Group not only manufactures modes of transport but also has a real estate development company that can create houses and offices. Creating smart spaces is something Hyundai Motor Group can do.
Hyundai Motor Group could be the first to deliver highly integrated smart spaces in the world. The Big Data Team will utilize Big Data so that Hyundai can prepare for the future.
Photograph. Yoon-Sik Kim