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Ride-Hailing Firm Grab Will Soon Include “Black-Box” Recorders in Their Vehicles

Earlier this year in June, Toyota made a $1 billion investment in the Singapore based ride-hailing company Grab. Now, they announce that the investment will initially go to equipping Grab’s cars with recorders [1].

On top of Grab’s current fleet of some 7,000 vehicles in Singapore, Toyota will soon supply 1,500 hybrid Prius’ which have pre-installed “black box” recorders. Furthermore, according to a Bloomberg report and Toyota’s global head of connected car division, Shigeki Tomoyama, the existing fleet in Singapore, as well as the vehicles operating at Grab’s other markets, will be retrofitted with the same equipment.

The initiative is said to increase the cars performance and its service, as well as help Toyota to understand driving patterns better, which ultimately can benefit both the manufacturer and the drivers. Toyota can streamline their production processes by customizing their vehicle designs to fit specific markets while Grab is offered a more efficient service that prevents breakdowns or poor performance which in turn affects revenues. Since Grab aims to offer other mobility services in the future, like self-driving shuttles and mobile restaurants, the data logging from black boxes could help Toyota to adjust and provide vehicles that are designed for specific mobility service purposes.


Personal comments

A recent investigation has shown that anonymity is not as true as smartphone users believe. Today, many companies that use location services on their apps sell the information to organisations that wish to get insight into their customer behaviour. Business’ say that their interest is in the patterns, not the identities, and that information is tied to a unique ID rather than someone’s name or phone number. But evidently, it is still easy to connect these ID’s to specific people, which raise concern about any kind of locational data logging. A black box in ride-hailing cars, logging very precise data, will offer even more ways to track specific units or people, and hence it is important to include sharp security precautions when installing these. These systems could undeniably offer great future opportunities for new mobility services, but an important question for this service is if Toyota and Grab have thought about digital security enough to avoid intrusion of personal information or access to other sensitive data.


Written by Hampus Alfredsson, RISE Viktoria.



1. 2018-12-18. Toyota to supply Grab with cars with ‘black box’ recorders.