We have seen a number of strange test vehicles over the years, but this one has certainly caught our attention. Our friend, spy photographer Walter Vayr of GabetzSPYUnit (@GabetzSPYUnit), spotted this pre-2019 Jeep® Renegade Limited coming out of a Stellantis testing facility. What is really interesting is the decals on the vehicle.
There is the “Stellantis” name above the shape of a movie camera on the hatch. Also on the hatch is a URL for a website (www.stellantis.com/q/privacy/advehicle). Upon going to the website, it tells you that the vehicle is actually “used for the purposes of development, testing, validation, quality assurance, and/or safeguarding.” It also states that the vehicle is “equipped with sensors and measuring instruments as well as video measurement technology, and thus are inclined to film the surrounding of public roads. It could happen that your vehicle including its license plate or you as a road user (pedestrian, cyclist, motor rider, car driver, etc.) in the street might be filmed.”
The website even includes, what appears to be pictures of the same identical vehicle Vayr spotted with some additional information about Stellantis’ intentions to use the footage it captures. The website goes on to say the following…
“The measurement technology built into the test vehicles processes e.g. videos from outwardly directed cameras. Those cameras collect real-time images of public traffic. This information may also include personal data about you:
- Videos of you, as road users (pedestrian, cyclist, motor rider, car driver, etc.),
- Vehicles’ license plates,
- GPS location of the test vehicle, at the moment of the measurement.
Our technical teams use these data in order to improve existing vehicle functions or to develop new ones. We are not interested in determining the identity of an individual, and the measurement system is not configured for that purpose, as this is not necessary for the development of the automated driving platform. All traffic objects are only categorized as trucks, cars, motorcycles, pedestrians, etc.
In case it is possible, we use blurring technologies to ensure that potential personal data is not processed.” Stellantis indicates that it’s not their aim to identify persons or to collect personal data.
It also states that Stellantis holds on to the footage for typically 3 to 5 years. However, in the development of some newer driving assistance system, the company may be required to keep some data in an archive for up to 10 years after the model’s production end in case of litigation.
What is also interesting is who they share the information with. The site condenses the recipients down into a few categories classified as the following…
- Within our legal entity, only the departments that need the data as part of their activities have access to the data, e.g. product development teams engaged in the development of driving assistance systems and autonomous driving in our technical centers.
- FCA US LLC is placed outside the European Economic Area (EEA) in the U.S. as well as its engaged sub-processors, and therefore in a country without [an] adequate level of data protection. There is no adequate decision of the European Commission but there are appropriate safeguards in place, which are in this case EU Standard Contractual Clauses. In order to obtain a copy please send us an e-mail (see paragraph “Contacting us”).
- We also disclose your personal data to our respective engaged IT service providers who act as processors to support the administration of the named purposes, in particular to archiving service providers, hosting service providers, and/or IT service providers.
In addition, and especially for the development, test, and/or validation of algorithms of new automated driving assistance systems and autonomous driving, and only when anonymization is not possible for technical reasons, we may also disclose personal data to the following recipient categories, who act as processors:
- development partners,
- professional associations,
The site goes on to conclude with a person’s rights who may have been filmed by the vehicle, as well as, ways to contact Stellantis to make sure your privacy is secure. However, you better know everything about when, where, and which vehicle captured you. After reading the information, it sounds like there are a lot of loopholes for them to use the information inside the European Union (E.U.).
Nevertheless, we are fascinated with how the automotive industry collects its data. Simply put, it may look like a normal run-of-the-mill Renegade, but the test driver may be collecting a lot more information than one may assume.