Imagine a world where your motorcycle tracks, records, and reports your departure and arrival time, speed, and GPS location. Well, the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA) thinks that reality is just around the corner, and the organization is taking proactive steps to address the potential issue.

FEMA isn’t pulling the problem out of thin air, though. Automotive manufacturers and legislators are actively considering privacy bills to protect vehicle owners’ data from misuse. With autonomous, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies advancing by leaps and bounds in recent years, manufacturers and consumers are turning more of the driving responsibilities over to computers.

As a result, onboard systems are constantly tracking the automobile’s position and speed data. Those metrics help interconnected ecosystems while also delivering valuable development feedback to improve future iterations, but the storage and access of that data can quickly become problematic. To combat misuse, several states including California, Virginia, and Colorado introduced new bills regulating the collection and use of such data, but FEMA wants to get ahead of the curve when it comes to motorbikes.

Of course, many advanced technologies debut in cars before trickling down to the motorcycle market. For instance, Mitsubishi introduced the first adaptive cruise control in 1992, but the tech didn’t debut in motorcycles until the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4. On one hand, autonomous motorcycles may be a long way off, but V2V and V2X tech would certainly improve a motorcyclist's visibility to fellow motorists. In turn, such features would greatly enhance safety.

While the future technologies present benefits for some riders, the privacy issues may be a dealbreaker for others. In a prepared statement, FEMA explained that, “The owner of the motorcycle must be in control of the data and be able to decide who gets access to it.” For those that use computers or smart devices on a daily basis, this type of permissions-based check is the norm.

Whether collecting browser cookies or accessing your phone’s photo gallery, firms must ask for the user’s approval before gathering data. FEMA recently sent a letter to the European Commission (EC) expressing that the same standard should apply to vehicle data. Of course, we’ll have to wait for the EC’s response in the coming months, but with autonomous, V2V, and V2X technologies continuing to evolve, regulating data tracking and use isn’t just a concern for drivers.

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