The cognitive effect on automotive

By | 3 minute read | September 14, 2017

Automotive engineering

The automotive industry is experiencing a paradigm shift. Today’s vehicles are no longer just for transport. Instead, they are moving data centres with the potential to offer consumers access to in-car services like on-the-go toll and parking payments, weather data, automatic route calculation and much more.

In the week that Frankfurt hosts its well-renowned international motor show, IAA 2017, the automotive industry is buzzing with talk of self-driving cars, in-vehicle concierge services and ever-increasing personalization for drivers. To understand how ready the automotive industry is to accept cognitive technology like this, the IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed 500 automotive executives, original equipment manufacturers and suppliers for their perspectives. The resulting paper, ‘The cognitive effect on automotive’, shows that automotive industry executives are increasingly turning to cognitive computing to help achieve the promise of greater connectivity for drivers, manufacturers and service providers.

Why cognitive?

Cognitive technology, it seems, is quite the belle of the ball in the eyes of the industry. But why is it expected to have such an impact? The answer is in the data. For one thing, there’s a lot of it available, and it isn’t yet being adequately used. Customers, vehicles, products and services all generate information, which if captured and analysed could be used to improve company and industry practices, offer customers more personalized services, and create new mobility services.

While traditional analytics methodologies are adept at gaining insights from structured data sets, unstructured data (like social media conversations and sensor data) represents a huge, untapped resource. The numbers are staggering: 9 billion gigabytes of personal data are generated every day. And by 2025, it’s predicted that autonomous vehicles alone will generate and consume 4,000 gigabytes of data in the same time frame.

With capabilities such as pattern identification, natural language interpretation and the ability to build knowledge, cognitive analytics gives us a way to mine and make sense of this information.

The industry’s reaction to cognitive technology

IBM’s report suggests that we have reached a tipping point in favour of cognitive technology within the auto industry. More people are curious about its potential than ever before, and still others are already implementing it.

Of our 500 surveyed executives, for example:

  • 65% reported value from structured and unstructured data;
  • 60%+ think cognitive technology is market ready;
  • 60% say cognitive technology will be a disruptive force.

With original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the story isn’t much different:

  • 66% of OEMs say cognitive tech is market ready;
  • 58% plan to implement it in the next three years.

It seems that consumers, too, are excited by the possibilities of connected vehicles. According to a 2016 consumer study from IBM entitled ‘A new relationship: people and cars’, 54% of consumers were highly interested in the experiences self-enabling vehicles might be able to offer them.

Use cases

Data-driven insights have many practical applications for the industry – some which are already in practice, and others which represent what the near future holds.

Recently, for example, a European automaker used data-driven insights to adjust its production line, by creating predictive models around over 500 performance variables, such as machine settings, material temperature and equipment maintenance. By optimizing the production line, the company cut the time taken to achieve optimal process target levels by 50%.

To take another real-life example, a Japanese company is using natural language processing and cognitive analytics to understand the correlation between safety issues and their root causes, in order to avoid risk in the future.

The use cases are many and various: sensor-driven car cameras to help catch criminals on camera; post-accident diagnostics to inform vehicle repair and help prevent insurance fraud, and personalised in-car interactions and on-the-go purchasing options are just some of them.

IBM will be demonstrating some of our initiatives in the area of cognitive technology and connected vehicles at IAA 2017. Join us there to meet our subject matter experts and find out more about the exciting potential of the cognitive effect.

Further resources