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September 16, 2021 8:15 PM, EDT

Tire Data Ownership, Safety Explored

Austin Crayne Austin Crayne, Goodyear business development manager, says fleets and tire manufacturers often will agree upon who owns the data, how it can be used and security before a contract is signed. (Goodyear)

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CLEVELAND — Truck tire manufacturing representatives received pushback over data ownership and safety during a panel discussion at American Trucking Associations’ 2021 Technology & Maintenance Council Fall Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition.

The Sept. 15 discussion focused on devices on the tires that help to collect data.

“My question comes down to who owns the data,” an audience member asked. “We have all this stuff being reported back to the telematics and now it’s going to the cloud and through some third-party analyzing system before going back to the fleet. Fleets have some sensitive information within that data. What are we doing as an industry to protect that data?”

Lee Demis

Demis

Numerous devices potentially could be integrated into tires to help fleets track their condition. Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips can help a fleet get stored information about a tire when it is scanned. Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and automatic tire inflation systems (ATIS) also can be included. Each system can collect data that often is routed through a cloud-based service to be analyzed before being directed back to the fleet.

“I can’t speak to the entire industry,” said Lee Demis, vice president of business development at Doran Manufacturing. “I think if you asked each segment, each one would have a different answer on who owns that data.”

Demis added that in terms of fleets he works with, they tend to control who has access to the tire data. While some fleets choose to share that information, others keep it private unless they have an issue that they need support with from their tire provider.

“It’s a hot-button topic right now, who owns the data,” Demis said. “I think everybody thinks they own the data, and trying to determine who exactly it is and during what part of the process is very challenging right now.”

It’s a hot-button topic right now, who owns the data. I think everybody thinks they own the data,

Lee Demis, vice president of business development at Doran Manufacturing

Austin Crayne, business development manager at Goodyear, noted fleets and tire manufacturers often will spell out those details before signing a contract. That includes who owns the data, how it can be used and security. He added if it’s not in the contract a fleet should ask about it.

“There’s usually going to be an agreement in place between a provider and fleet,” Crayne said. “Usually, the ownership of the data is going to be spelled out there,” he said. “So it’s going to be something that before that contract is even signed before there is deployment, there should be some sort of agreement on who owns that data and how the data can be used. The safety of the data is taken care of.”

Another audience member asked for clarification about RFID information being stored on the cloud and whether that means fleets will have free access to the life cycle data.

“There will be different parts of the data that’s available,” said Nate Panning, connected mobility services manager at Michelin. “I don’t want to get ahead of some industry announcements of how this could be structured. But there will be both public parts of the dataset, which will be free of charge, and there will be some private parts that will not necessarily be free of charge.

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“It’s a business decision of each of the industry providers, the tire manufacturers, to decide what their pricing strategies are going to be.”

An audience member also posed a question about data ownership and tire thefts. He argued the tire companies should consider allowing the fleets to own the data and be cited as the original owner within that information to prevent thefts. He added it doesn’t do any good to not have a clear line of ownership throughout the life of the tire.

“Those are industry standards typically that would need to be put in place,” Panning said. “I can’t speak for the industry and whether the industry would pay for that. But we are working to be able to link data about the use of the tire. How that might address theft is a complicated question that I can’t really answer.”

Someone else from the audience asked whether consideration is being given to upgrading RFID chips so fleets can add information to them. At the moment, the chips primarily are read-only.

“It’s complicated on a number of levels because you would have to be able to unlock those chips,” Panning said. “The cost of the chips is driven also by the amount of information you have on it. And then perhaps one of the biggest challenges is standardizing what you would write on that chip.”

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