Data privacy statement

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Data Processing by and in the context of test vehicles

The high standards you expect from our products and services are part of our guidelines for handling your data. Our aim is to create and maintain an ongoing relationship with you based on trust. The confidentiality and integrity of your personal data is our top priority.

We want to improve road safety by introducing new technologies to further enhance automated driving experience. Our aim is to reduce the number of traffic accidents and especially road fatalities by introducing automated driving systems. Visit our autonomous driving Information Site for more detailed general information.

For this purpose, we use our appropriately marked test vehicles to record data from various sensors, including video and audio recordings of the vehicle environment.

Which entity is responsible for data processing?

Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft, Petuelring 130, 80788 Munich, domicile and court of registry: Munich HRB 42243 (hereinafter "BMW"), is the controller in the meaning of the General Data Protection Regulation (hereinafter "GDPR") and responsible for data processing in connection with the video and audio recordings for the development of highly and fully automated driving technologies.

Which data do we process and what do we use it for?

The personal data generated from the use of our marked test vehicles about the vehicle environment are processed as follows.

The test vehicles are equipped with various sensors (such as radar, ultrasonic sensor, GPS/localization), microphones and video cameras. The surroundings of the vehicles are recorded on video and audio files and stored for later analysis, and are combined with the sensor data.

The video recordings are used to create static and dynamic traffic objects. These can be roadblocks, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, etc. with their individual position and movement in relation to the test vehicle as well as the position and movement of pedestrians. To calculate the potential movement of the pedestrian - e.g. when a person wants to cross the road - the direction of their gaze can also be analysed.

The audio recordings, e.g. sirens, are used to recognize for instance that the automated driving car has to turn to the side, if an ambulance comes driving behind it using its siren and has priority. The video, audio and sensor data are used during the test drives to detect and respond to road users and in general to traffic situations. In the later evaluation of the recordings, the video, audio and sensor data are used to develop and improve the algorithms for the automated driving system.

However, we are not interested in determining the identity of a person, and the system is not configured for that purpose, as this is not necessary for the development of the automated driving platform. All traffic objects are therefore only categorized as cars, motorcycles, pedestrians, etc. Nevertheless, recordings of individual road users, license plates or other personal data may be contained in these video and audio recordings. In the images below you may see the recordings of other vehicles and pedestrians in front of a test vehicle. They are only recognized as "persons", "cars" or "trucks" by the algorithm and are classified accordingly. The images are not used to identify the passing pedestrians, the different car models or their drivers.

The following images show the video recording (picture 1) and the information extracted by the software, consisting of the object identification "truck = pink square", "car = yellow square" and "person = blue square" (picture 2).

What is the legal basis for this data processing?

The legal basis for the collection and processing of these video and audio recordings of the surroundings of the test vehicles (including the recording of personal data such as video recordings of pedestrians, drivers) by us is the legitimate interest of BMW pursuant to Art. 6 (1) lit. f GDPR.

BMW's legitimate interest in the processing and storage of these video and audio recordings results from its interest in operating the test vehicles and in developing the platform for automated driving. During the development process, the data collected by the test vehicles will be used to develop and validate the algorithms for different functions of automated driving. Furthermore, there is also a legitimate interest in processing the data of the test vehicles after the start of production, which is particularly important (i) to develop/validate updates of the software ("bug fixing") and (ii) to establish a defence in case of litigation or (iii) to comply with legal obligations, in particular with regulatory requirements.

In addition, BMW has a keen interest in improving vehicle and road safety through the development of its driving systems. Also this could serve the interest of the general public. In order to improve road safety of the automated vehicles, video and audio recordings of the test vehicle environment have become necessary.

How long do we store your data?

We store your personal data only as long as required for the intended purpose. If data is processed for multiple purposes, it will be deleted, or stored in an anonymized form that cannot be directly traced back to you.

How do we store your data?

We utilise state-of-the-art technology to store your data. The following safeguards are used, for example, to protect your personal data from misuse and or any form of unauthorised processing:

Access to personal data is restricted to a limited number of authorised persons for the stated purposes.

  • The data collected is only transmitted and stored in an encrypted form.
  • The IT systems used for processing data are segmented from other systems to prevent unauthorised access and hacking.
  • Access to these IT systems are constantly monitored to detect and prevent misuse.

Whom do we share data with and how do we protect you?

In order to develop and validate safe and reliable algorithms for the development of the automated driving platform, millions of test driving kilometres have to be covered for each hardware/software combination that is used in the field. This requires a very large amount of camera, audio and sensor data, which cannot be captured by one company alone.

Therefore we share your data with cooperation partners. Our cooperation partners include: OEM partners, in order to use video and audio data to avoid duplicated and therefore unnecessary test drives, universities and institutes, in order to cooperate in the field of research and development, and suppliers (including development service providers and technology service providers). The transfer of video, audio and sensor data to our cooperation partners is subject to strict purpose limitation (i.e. for development purposes in the field of highly and fully automated driving).

BMW and its cooperation partners will use this data in particular to (i) develop, validate and refine the software that will operate on the platform and (ii) to integrate the software into the vehicles. The data will be transmitted in encrypted form only.

BMW and its cooperation partners do not use the video, audio and sensor data to identify individuals. This means that BMW and its cooperation partners do not identify individuals in the recordings since the identification of individuals is not relevant for the development of the automated driving systems. For the development of the automated driving platform, it is only relevant and necessary to classify pedestrians as persons (as distinguished from cars or trucks, for instance) and their direction of movement.

If data is processed in countries outside the European Union (EU), BMW uses EU Standard Contracts, with appropriate technical and organisational measures, to ensure that your personal data is processed in accordance with European data protection standards. If you wish to view the specific safeguards for the transfer of data to other countries, please contact us through one of the communication channels listed below.

The European Union has already established a comparable level of data protection for certain countries outside the EU, such as Canada and Switzerland. Since the level of data protection is comparable, data transmission to these countries does not require special approval or agreement.

Contact details, rights of the data subject and your right to complain to a supervisory authority

If you have any questions relating to our use of your personal data, we recommend that you contact BMW Customer Service – either by sending an email to

You may also contact the company’s Data Protection Officer:

Petuelring 130
80788 München

Marking of the test vehicles

The test vehicles are marked for instance with the following or similar stickers, which are attached to the test vehicles:

Rights of the data subject

As the party affected by the processing of your data, you may claim certain rights under the GDPR and other relevant data protection regulations.

In certain situations, we may be unable to respond to your request as a data subject due to legal requirements or information available to us. For instance, we may not be able to retrieve images of recorded persons without additional information. Since the persons recorded in the test vehicle environment cannot be identified without additional information, and since such identification is not necessary for the purposes pursued by BMW, we are prevented by law from carrying out additional data processing for the purpose of identification; in such cases, your rights under Art. 15 to 20 GDPR may not be applicable. Your data subject's rights may only apply if you provide us with additional information which enables us to clearly identify you. Even with these additional information we may not be able to verify your entitlement to access or delete the data, since we do not identify any persons on the video and audio recordings, and would therefore not know who the data subjects on the recordings are, and your data subject rights are restricted due to rights of others or the need to keep the data for reasons of law.

During and immediately after the data collection activities of the test vehicles (e.g. if you are a pedestrian within the camera’s field of view and you become aware of the recording), you can directly object and ask the test driver for the deletion of relevant data.

Under the GDPR, you are entitled to claim the following specific rights vis-à-vis BMW as the data subject:


Right of access by the data subject (Art. 15 GDPR):

You have the right to request information on the data we hold about you from us at any time. This information includes, but is not limited to, the categories of data we process, the purposes for which it is processed, the source of the data if not collected directly from you, and, if applicable, the recipients with whom we have shared your data. You can obtain a copy of your data from us free of charge. If you require multiple copies, we reserve the right to charge you for these copies.


Right to rectification (Art. 16 GDPR):

You have the right to request that we rectify inaccurate data relating to you. Photographs or video recordings are by nature "correct" because they represent a photographed or recorded person in reality. We will not edit recordings in any way so that your stored data is accurate and up to date.


Right to erasure (Art. 17 GDPR):

You have the right to request that we erase your data, as long as the legal requirements for this are satisfied. This may be the case under Art. 17 GDPR if

  • the data is no longer required for the purposes for which it was collected or otherwise processed;
  • you withdraw the consent on which data processing is based, and there is no other legal basis for processing;
  • you lodge an objection to the processing of your data and there are no legitimate reasons for processing, or you object to data processing for direct marketing purposes;
  • the data was processed unlawfully, and provided that processing is not required
  • for scientific research purposes and provided that the deletion of the data is not likely to prevent or seriously affect the achievement of that objective;
  • to establish, exercise or defend legal claims.


Right to restriction of processing (Art. 18 GDPR):

You have the right to request that we restrict processing of your data if

  • you dispute the accuracy of the data – in which case processing may be restricted during the time it takes to verify the accuracy of the data;
  • processing is unlawful, and you reject the deletion of your data, requesting that its usage be restricted instead;
  • we no longer need your data, but you need it to establish, exercise or defend your rights;
  • you have lodged an objection to its processing, as long as it is not certain that our legitimate reasons outweigh yours.

Right to data portability (Art. 20 GDPR):

You have the right to request that we transfer your data – if technically possible – to another responsible party. However, you may only enforce this right if data processing is based on your consent or is necessary for the performance of a contract. Rather than receiving a copy of your data, you may also ask us to submit the data directly to another responsible party specified by you.


Right to object (Art. 21 GDPR):

You have the right to object to the processing of your data at any time for reasons that arise from your particular situation, as long as data processing is based on your consent, on our legitimate interests or those of a third party. In this case, we will cease to process your data. This does not apply if we can show that there are compelling legitimate grounds for processing that outweigh your interests, or if we need your data for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.

Time limits for compliance with the rights of the data subject

We make every effort to comply with all requests within 30 days. However, this period may be extended for reasons relating to the specific right or complexity of your request.  


Complaint to supervisory authorities

BMW AG takes your concerns and rights very seriously. However, if you believe that we have not responded in an appropriate manner to your complaints or concerns, you have the right to lodge a complaint with your local data protection authority.