The definition of Big Data is simple -- it’s the collection of large amounts of information. Going deeper, we include the ability to manipulate this data through analysis. It’s not a storage issue; it’s a transaction and analytics issue. If storing massive data were the point, we wouldn’t be obsessing about big data. The point is using data from a wide range of sources -- sensor data, demographic info, physical qualities -- to detect patterns and make decisions based on the knowledge derived from those patterns.
The ability to process massive data changes our behavior. Data analysis of stress on new materials allows the automotive and aerospace industries to bring strong, lightweight, sustainable materials into production. Big-data analytics allows plants to become ultra-optimized, greatly reducing energy consumption and reducing the overall cost of manufacturing. Big data is helping sustainable energy sources compete against fossil fuels. Ultimately, big data will keep our cars from bumping into each other.
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In a few short years, we will all feel the effect of big data in our cars. They won’t bump into each other as often, and quality problems with deadly accidents and massive recalls will begin to taper off. Google's autonomous car is the icon for big data in automotive. But it will be more. It will include intelligent design, intelligent manufacturing, and intelligent sensors that will reduce accidents dramatically.