A fundamental rethink is needed by companies for people to embrace the levels of data sharing that autonomous cars and drone deliveries require, according to a study by mapping and location data company HERE Technologies.

It found that overall trust in how companies use and gather and location data was low, with just 20% feeling they have full control over their personal data.

In the study, which surveyed more than 8,000 people, 73% of consumers ranked greater car safety as the most beneficial reason to share location data.

While overall trust is currently low, consumers seem more willing to share data for future technologies, with 72% willing to share their location data for an autonomous car to find the most efficient routes, while 69% would share to enable a drone to find a missing person, pet or item.

Just over half (51%) said they would entrust their private data needs to an artificial intelligence (AI) bot.

Chief Platform Officer at HERE Technologies, Dr. Peter Kürpick said: “Autonomous transportation and other new services will require increasingly time-sensitive and machine-to-machine communications, and for people to enjoy uninterrupted access to these kinds of services, a new approach to privacy is needed.”

The quantitative research surveyed people in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.

The research also revealed that UK consumers are less anxious about sharing data than other countries, while Americans trust ride-hailing companies more than their government when it comes to location data.

“People share location data with app providers because of the many benefits, whether it’s food delivery, hailing a ride, or getting the most out of social media,” said Kürpick.

“But, for many, it can be a trade with which they’re uneasy. While the lack of trust is problematic today, we believe that there could be greater challenges down the road if privacy practices continue to be dominated by a click-to-consent approach.”

The study comes ahead of the implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an EU regulation that intends to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the EU. It becomes enforceable from 25 May and will see companies found breaching it fined up to €20 million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover.

“We believe the answer is in equipping people with transparent user-friendly settings that allow them to grant and withdraw access rights as well as manage their privacy preferences, helping them stay in better control of what they’re sharing across their digital life,” said Kürpick.