July 23, 2013, 4:20 PM — Self-driving cars, which some experts have predicted will be readily available within five years, will come with a myriad of sensors creating machine-to-machine data at the rate of 1GB a second, according to one strategist.
Mark van Rijmenam, a big data strategist and founder of BigData-Startups.com, believes the sensors in self-driving cars will also will provide great opportunities to spot mechanical problems before they happen -- and even schedule repairs.
Last year, Google CEO Sergey Brin said self-driving cars will be a reality for "ordinary people" in less than five years. Last fall, California's governor signed into law a bill allowing the vehicles on its roads.
Among others, GM plans to introduce a semi-automated Cadillac driving system in 2015.
"With the amount of cars worldwide to surpass one billion, it is almost unimaginable how much data will be created when Google's self-driving car will become common on the streets. But Google is not the only company working on self-driving cars," Rijmenam wrote.
"By 2020, there will be quite a few offerings out there for autonomous vehicle functionality that you can buy at a reasonable price point," said Thilo Koslowski, an analyst with Gartner.
Rijmenam predicts that all car manufacturers are likely working on self-driving cars. Mobileye, a Dutch company that specializes in inexpensive cameras that assist self-driving cars, has raised $400 million.
"The self-driving car from Google already is a true data creator," Rijmenam said in a blog post this week. "It uses all that data to know where to drive and how fast to drive. It can even detect a new cigarette butt thrown on the ground and it then knows that a person might appear all of a sudden from behind a corner or car."
If a self-driving cars does produce 1GB per second, it would, on average will create about 2 petabytes of data a year, according to Rijmenam. He came to that calculation based on driving 600 hours per year in a car, which translates into 2,160,000 seconds or about 2PB of data per car per year.