Modern Automobile

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Audi A8 - Amount of Data produced

Between its autonomous driving features and its in-car passenger-focused systems, the newest Audi A8 generates 50GB in an 8-hour driving period (6.25GB per hour). Read on for our deep dive into the A8's data-generating systems!


The new Audi A8, "the first production car to reach Level 3 autonomy," generates "50 GB of data in an eight-hour shift," or 6.25 GB per hour. The A8 is equipped with 41 total autonomous driving assists, including a "next-generation" adaptive cruise control and central driver assist system that can maintain lane positioning, acceleration, and braking. The A8 also has lane departure warnings, a "TopView 3D" system that shows the car's entire surroundings during parking and slower driving, predictive assistance for efficient acceleration and coasting, intersection assistance, emergency warnings, and 360-degree hazard detection, all powered by Intel processors. Finally, the A8 has adaptive GPS that predicts common routes and smart steering and suspension adjustments.

The A8 also has a connected in-car infotainment system, "Audi Connect." Audi Connect for most models includes an LTE hotspot, parking, traffic, and gas price information in addition to media streaming and email and Twitter integration. The A8 adds speech and gesture controls and can "engage in intelligent conversation."

While we weren't able to find an A8-specific system-by-system breakdown, we did find a breakdown of the data generation of several common autonomous driver assist equipment. Camera systems in fully-autonomous vehicles can generate between 20 and 60 MB/second (72 GB to 216 GB per hour), while radar can generate 10 kB/second (36 MB/hour). Sonar systems can generate between 10 and 100 kB/second (36-360 MB/hour), while LIDAR can generate between 10 and 70 MB/second (36 to 252 GB per hour). With all of these sensors active, a fully-autonomous vehicle could generate 4 TB of data every day.

The A8's autonomous systems include four surround cameras in addition to sonar, laser, and ultrasonic sensors; while the above figures are for fully-autonomous vehicles with more sensor packages than the A8 has, it's likely that the camera and laser sensors still generate the most data of the A8's systems.


While we weren't able to find a specific system-by-system breakdown of the Audi A8's data generation, we did find a generic per-hour number and a general breakdown of the autonomous vehicle systems that generate the most data. Between its autonomous driving assists and in-car systems, the A8 generates 6.25 GB of data per hour of driving.
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Autonomous Vehicles - Amount of Data produced

A single autonomous vehicle will generate/produce a total of 4 Terabytes of data per day. In coming up with the projected amount of data to be generated by autonomous cars, I researched and pulled info from the media articles of respected companies in the autonomous vehicle industry such as Intel and Tesla, as well as other notable vehicle and trusted media sites such as CNN, Quartz, and Business Insider. Intel provided the most reputable projection on the topic.


Modern vehicles are currently embedded with 40 microprocessors, with sensors storing information about the vehicle, such as acceleration, route, the physical condition of the vehicle, and/or the condition of the road. This information is used to analyze the durability, efficiency, and working capability of the vehicle. Autonomous vehicles generate a substantial amount of data and record this information. Data generated depends on the quantity of sensors; more sensors would generate more data. The amount of data generation also differs from vehicle to vehicle. Radar, sonar, GPS, LiDAR, and camera systems are the major electronic systems (sensors) of an autonomous vehicle.


Today, a basic smart car could generate about 25 gigabytes of data in an hour, and the complexity in function would result in more amount of data generation. With continuous evolution in smart technologies, autonomous vehicles will become more data-driven. According to Stephan Heinrich from Lucid Motors, a single camera sensor can generate about 500-3500 megabits of data in one second, making the camera sensor one of the largest data generators of autonomous vehicles.

AAA also provided an estimate on the data production of a car, and this organization stated that one car can produce 380TB to 5,100TB of data if it is driven 17,600 minutes in a year.

The founder of Coughlin Associates, Tom Coughlin, stated that the data generated by an autonomous car would reach an iPhone's maximum storage capacity in 30 seconds, which is an estimated rate of about 1 GB data per second.
According to an article of 2016, Intel projected a total of 4 TeraBytes of data can be generated by a single autonomous vehicle per day. It provided some subsequent breakdowns of this figure. Intel predicted:
1. Radar Systems will generate 10-100 kB of data per second (0.04 to 0.36 GB per hour).

2. Sonar systems will generate 10-100 kB of data per second (0.04 to 0.36 GB per hour).

3. GPS systems will generate about 50 kB of data per second (0.18 GB per hour).

4. LIDAR systems will generate 10-70 MB of data per second (4.5 to 31.5 GB per hour).

5. Camera sensors will generate 20-40 MB of data per second (9 to 18 GB per hour).
This data is dependent on:
1. In-vehicle factors, such as fluid levels, speed and acceleration, GPS positioning, etc.
2. Driver/passenger use of entertainment systems, HVAC, seat preferences, driving styles, etc.

3. Environment information, such as LiDAR scanner, cameras, and sensors.
Intel also stated that one person produces about 650MB of data in a day. In comparison, the data produced by a single autonomous vehicle is equal to the data generated by about 3,000 people. This is a very large amount of data.
In near future, Intel expects autonomous vehicles to generate three types of data in large quantities:

1. Technical data/ inside-out data, which is generated by cars' sensors for recognition purposes
2. Societal/crowd-sourced/outside-in data, which will be generated by vehicles to analyze the world around it (i.e. roads or traffic)
3. Personal data, which will be generated while tracking the personal preference of the driver or the number of passengers in vehicle.


As technology evolves and sensors are increasingly being developed for specialized purposes, the quantity of sensors in each autonomous vehicle is evolving. Therefore, depending on the quantity and purpose of sensors, the total amount of data generated by an autonomous vehicle varies for each vehicle. However, research suggests that a single autonomous vehicle will generate/produce a total of 4 Terabytes of data per day.
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Ford Focus - Amount of Data produced

After searching exhaustively through informational brochures, technical spec sheets, automobile spec sheets, and trusted media sites, we were unable to locate publicly available information which answers your question. However, we were able to determine a likely estimate of 25 GB per hour, based on information provided by Ford, although it is important to note that this figure is applicable to Ford cars in general, as opposed to the Focus specifically.

Further, we were unable to locate information pertaining to the data produced by the specific electronic systems incorporated into a modern Ford Focus, therefore it is not clear which of these systems would be included in the estimated figure of 25 GB per hour. However, Ford has stated that their connected cars generally have around 1,500 data elements. Within the 2018 Ford Focus, these elements would include the Sync 3 connected console and the BLIS Blind Spot Information System. Below, you will find a deep dive of our findings.


In attempting to fulfill your request, we searched exhaustively through informational brochures, technical spec sheets, automobile spec sheets, and trusted media sites. We also connected with a representative from Ford via Ford's customer-focused web-based messaging system, however, this representative was unable to locate the information we were requesting.

Overall, it appears that Ford does not typically publish specific technical details regarding the electronic systems they use in their cars. The information they make available about these systems generally relates to their intended functions, as opposed to their internal technological make-up and capabilities.

Since information regarding this topic was lacking, we also attempted to make a list of the electrical components used in a modern Ford Focus and research each component individually in order to find a breakdown of the data produced by these components. However, this research method also proved futile, as it appears most of the components utilized in these cars are customized and/or exclusive to Ford's vehicles and therefore we were not able to locate any external information about these components which could be utilized to help triangulate an answer for you.

Helpful findings

During our research, we located information which states that, in the future, connected cars will generally produce around 25 GB of data every hour. Upon further research, we were able to locate a 2017 article which talks about Ford's connected car strategy for the future. In this article, Ford states that their cars of today have "1,500 individual data elements, sometimes sent at a rate of 50 times per second and that 25 GB of data is created by a car during one hour of regular driving." This information is in alignment with the article we first located which states that connected cars typically produce a similar amount of data. While the information provided by Ford is not limited to a Ford Focus exclusively, we assume that a modern Ford likely falls within this same ballpark.

Based on the information above, regarding the fact that such cars have around 1,500 individual data elements, we are not able to list every component in a Ford Focus which transmits data, as doing so would be out of scope for a single Wonder response. However, the Ford Focus 2018 brochure lists over 10 electrical systems. An overview of the key electrical components in the 2018 brochure is provided below.

'Sync 3' is a computerized center console which utilizes voice recognition technology to perform tasks such as play music and make calls. Our research findings revealed that this system utilizes a "Texas Instruments OMAP 5 dual-core processor with 2GB of RAM." Additionally, a feature of this component is Apple CarPlay, which allows users to connect various apps to their car using their smartphone. The data used by Apple CarPlay varies based on the specific smartphone used, however, the data usage is typically around "5 MB per hour of streaming music," however, it appears this data is being produced by the smartphone, rather than being transmitted or produced by the car itself.

The 'Blind Spot Information System,' serves the purpose of alerting the driver to vehicles in their blind spots. Ford's 'Lane-Keeping System' alerts the driver when they drift into another lane. The 'Active Park Assist' component helps drivers locate available parallel parking spaces and then helps them successfully park. 'AdvanceTrac' helps drivers maintain control of the car by keeping the tires stable during compromised driving conditions. SecuriLock provides anti-theft protection and the rear view camera allows drivers to see what's behind them. The 'SOS Post-Crash Alert System' calls for emergency assistance in the event of a crash and the 'Tire Pressure Monitoring System' monitors the tire pressure automatically and electronically.


Although we were unable to locate a direct answer to your question after searching exhaustively through informational brochures, technical spec sheets, automobile spec sheets, and trusted media sites, information made available by Ford in 2017 suggests that a modern Ford Focus likely produces around 25 GB of data per hour.