Chevrolet MyLink screen

Connected cars are slowly but surely becoming more commonplace, mirroring the smartphone takeover of the mobile communications market, albeit at a much slower pace. But as we get more and more connected vehicles on the road, the ability of companies to take advantage of the accumulated data becomes greater and greater.

Now, one Cisco executive, Andreas Mai, has put a number on just what one car's total data will mean in savings for a number of interested parties. According to a report from Automotive News, the average motorist will stand to save $550 per year thanks to smarter routing from navigation systems that allow them to both avoid traffic and improve fuel economy.

Society, as a whole, will benefit thanks to data that allows for an improved traffic flow and higher road capacity, with $420 in savings. Mai estimates that the service providers – those companies that provide the traffic guidance, navigation, parking services and such – should see $150 in value per car. Finally, the automakers should see an extra $300 in value thanks to app design and smarter diagnostics that lower warranty costs.

And while this is all very much still pie-in-the-sky stuff (connected cars are still in their infancy), the prospects are quite exciting. The sole sticking point we can really see has to do with privacy. The average citizen might not appreciate their commuting habits being monitored by faceless corporations, with some potentially electing to opt out.

The idea of incentivizing cooperation is one possibility, but even Mai recognizes that privacy and ownership of the data will be an issue, "There have to be rules about who owns the data. Most likely it's the consumer, since he bought the car. A balance needs to be struck."