IBM Watson and BMW Group have today announced a partnership to explore the role of Watson cognitive computing in connected vehicles.
The deal will see a team of researchers and engineers from BMW become one of the first to move into IBM’s global collaborative headquarters for Watson Internet of Things (IoT) in Munich, Germany – a facility which IBM recently said it would invest $200 million in to transform its IoT and artificial intelligence (AI) operations.
The BMW team will work alongside IBM’s own team of researchers, developers and consultants to further their automotive research, and discover what Watson IoT’s machine learning technologies can do to improve the future driving experience.
BMW drivers to benefit from Watson’s customized experience
It’s generally accepted that fully autonomous cars are still some years off becoming mainstream, but increasingly we are seeing cars with improved connectivity and a greater set of functions to improve the driving experience.
The IBM Institute for Business Value study, ‘A new relationship – people and cars‘, confirms this, suggesting that today’s cars are evolving from a mode of transport to a new kind of moving data center with on-board sensors and computers that capture information about the car, its driver, occupants and surroundings. At the same time, conversational interfaces are enabling drivers to interact with their vehicles more naturally and, with machine learning, cars can get to know their drivers better and personalize the experience accordingly.
For IBM and BMW to take this one step further through Watson IoT, four BMW i8 hybrid sports cars will be kept at IBM’s Munich HQ where they will be fitted with prototype solutions that run on IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform. The purpose of this is to demonstrate how Watson can facilitate new means of communication between the car and its driver.
IBM believes that Watson’s machine learning capabilities will enable vehicles to constantly learn about the preferences and habits of a driver to customize the experience accordingly. To achieve this, IBM said a car’s manual will be fed into Watson so that drivers can ask questions about the vehicle while still being able to concentrate on driving. Apparently, this solution will also come with data from the Weather Company, as well as real-time updates about traffic and best driving routes to improve the overall driving experience.
According to Harriet Green, global head of IBM’s Watson IoT business, “Watson is transforming how people interact with the physical world – helping to create safer, more efficient and personal experiences at home, at work and on the road.
“With this agreement, our companies will work together to lay the foundations so that BMW’s drivers can benefit from Watson’s conversational and machine learning capabilities. Our insight shows that while the car will remain a fixture in personal transportation, the driving experience will change more over the next decade than at any other time of the automobile’s existence.”
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