Otonomo, an Israeli startup that collects car data generated by more than 22 million connected vehicles around the world, rolled out this week a cloud-based platform whose data layer is now exposed to its customers via API...
Otonomo, an Israeli startup that collects car data generated by more than 22 million connected vehicles around the world, this week rolled out a cloud-based platform whose data layer is now exposed to its customers via API.
Matan Tessler, product vice president at Otonomo, called the platform “a neutral place” designed to “democratize [car] data sets.” The self-serve cloud data platform lets users — ranging from car OEMs, AV startups and fleet managers to service [app] developers, insurance companies, city planners and data consumers — extract the data they need and pay for it. The data available includes not only historical aggregated data, but also real-time data.
Otonomo, which has raised $82 million, expects hundreds of app and service developers to spring up and build a large ecosystem around its car-data platform.
Egil Juliussen, an automotive industry analyst, told EE Times, “Think about Otonomo offering an app store model for car data.”
The idea of monetizing car data is not new. OEMs like General Motors and Ford are already developing services tied to their own telematic control units. Tech companies including Waymo, Tesla and Mobileye are also in the business of collecting data generated by an installed base of vehicles (or their own sensor technology) for technology or service development.
A big difference here, though, is that many of those OEMs and tech companies are taking a “walled-garden approach,” noted Tessler. In contrast, Otonomo has 22 million vehicles on the road, driving literally everywhere. The company is currently compiling data from 12 OEMs including BMW, Peugot, FCA, Mercedes, Mitsubishi. “We are also adding more data from new car OEMs,” said Tessler. The company, however, can’t disclose yet who they are.
But why would car OEMs want to sign up with Otonomo, if they can build their own apps and services?
“OEMs are not data companies,” said Tessler. By working with Otonomo, carmakers can get data not only to enhance the driver and passenger experience, but also offer value-added services — other than their own — to differentiate their offerings. More important, Otonomo shares revenues with its car OEMs, allowing carmakers a new and recurring revenue stream.
Furthermore, Otonomo has expertise anonymizing data; carmakers understand that filtering their data through Otonomo might help them better comply with data privacy regulations.
How unique is Otonomo?
Juliussen said he looked into the car-data market a few years ago and noted that Harman (funded by Samsung), CloudCar, Mojio, Octo Telematics, Verisk and Xevo are also in the business of monetizing car data.
Otonomo has “taken a lead,” observed Juliussen, to a point that “it’s hard for others to catch up.” One reason is that Otonomo already does business globally; it operates in some 70 countries. The company has also developed unique tools, such as a dynamic blurring engine, to “manipulate, treat and clean up data that can meet the local data privacy regulations,” explained Juliussen.
Those who use car data on Otonomo’s cloud platform aren’t just the usual suspects — car OEMs, mapping companies and developers of parking apps. Juliussen said, “Suppose you want to open up a retail shop in a city. You want to learn the area’s traffic flow, circulation and pattern. You can choose where you want to locate your store based on the data from Otonomo’s car data platform.” The advantage of the platform is that it lets you structure data you want to see, he added.
Otonomo’s platform provides two data types, “aggregated data” and “identifiable data,” based on explicit consent with an individual who owns cars.
Otonomo offers dynamic filtering and aggregation so that data consumers can find the data they want. The company claims it collects today four billion data points per day from more than 22 million connected vehicles. Data consumers can either pay per use or buy a custom plan. For pay-per-use, users pay $60 for a million data points or $60 for 20,000 trips, according to the company. Otonomo offers a 30-day trial.