IBM and BMW want Watson to help drive your car

IBM Watson partnership with BMW looks to explore the potential of cognitive computing in vehicles.
Written by Danny Palmer, Senior Writer

IBM Watson could soon be helping you to drive your car, as IBM's cognitive computing unit is set to work with BMW Group to explore how the technology could aid cars of the future.

The partnership will see a team of BMW researchers and engineers located at IBM's global headquarters for Watson Internet of Things in Munich, Germany, as the companies work together to develop and improve intelligent assistant functions of BMW cars. BMW's headquarters are also located in Munich.

As part of the deal, four BMW i8 hybrid sports cars will also be moved to the Munich Watson IoT HQ, allowing researchers to run prototypes using IBM's Bluemix cloud platform. They will investigate how Watson can help provide conversational interfaces between cars and drivers and create a more personalised and intuitive driver support systems. BMW engineers will work alongside IBM researchers and developers on the project.

The scheme aims to use Watson's machine-learning capabilities to let vehicles learn about the preferences, needs, and driving habits of the driver, then use that information to improve both driver comfort and safety.

The vehicles will also adapt themselves to the driver's personal preferences, learning about everything from preferred seat height to common destinations in order to make the journey as easy as possible. Drivers will also be able to speak to the car and questions about the car and journey, while the car will be able to use the Internet of Things to bring real-time, traffic and weather updates as the car moves.

"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," said Harriet Green, global head of IBM's Watson IoT business.

"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," she added.

IBM's cognitive systems are used in a number of areas, ranging from healthcare to the services industry. Watson is also being deployed to aid organisations with their cybersecurity.

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