IBM at the CAR Symposium

By | 3 minute read | January 18, 2017

So far, it seems as though 2017 has been all about connected cars. If you haven’t had your fill of them at CES or NAIAS (where some of the IoT team were last week) you’re in luck: because CAR Symposium is happening on 1st February at RuhrCongress, Bochum, Germany.

IBM at the CAR Symposium

Each year, 1,200 managers and other top influencers in the Auto world come together at CAR Symposium to discuss the opportunities the future holds for mobility. This year is no exception, and Harriet Green, General Manager, Watson Internet of Things, Commerce & Education, will be giving a keynote speech detailing innovations for connected transport. You can register here.

The future of connected cars

We’ve learned a lot about connected vehicles thanks to this year’s CES in Las Vegas and NAIAS (the North American International Auto Show) in Detroit. So what exactly is a connected car? The promise of connectivity is varied, encompassing everything from cars that completely drive themselves, to in-car voice activated virtual assistants that help drivers accomplish tasks such as diagnosing engine faults and booking the car in for repair.

Lynne Slowey’s post about coming home to your car envisages a new level of personalization, where your car remembers your preferred seat position, automatically adjusts the temperature to the way you like it, chooses music based on your mood, and has a chat with your smart fridge to remind you to pick up the milk on the way home.

Taking humans out of the driving seat

The big question for connected cars is around how to take humans out of the driving seat entirely. The idea is that if cars could drive themselves, we could spend our commutes doing useful things like catching up on admin, planning our day or even socializing, rather than driving.

Ryan Boyles, blogging from NAIAS, shared his experience of a panel discussion moderated by Donna Satterfield about the digital brain of cars. The panel explored the question of trust, and what must be achieved before people are willing to relinquish the driver’s seat to their vehicle’s automated smarts. A system known as DMS, which is being built by Omron technology, may have the answers, at least where safety is concerned. DMS uses a recurrent neural network in order to assess a person’s ability to drive, so that it can hand control of the vehicle back to the driver when necessary. The human driver can then encompass three roles: driver, co-pilot and passenger, as the need dictates. 

Improved mobility for everyone

Of course, if cars are self-driving, that opens up the possibility of car travel to those who are unable to drive themselves; particularly the elderly or those with a disability that would otherwise prevent them from driving. Connected vehicles could promise improved mobility, as Andrew LaHart explores in this piece, and grant greater independence to an aging population.

The map is not the territory, but it can tell us a lot

Of course, map and GPS data will be vital if self-driving cars are to become a reality. Reliable map data that is up-to-date will be essential for safe navigation, but it might fulfill a social function too. Mapbox is the technology behind ultra-customisable maps that incorporate weather data, traffic updates, restaurant reviews and notable landmarks into their maps in real-time. Imagine riding a cognitive vehicle and being able to find out what’s on at the theatre you just passed, or whether there’s a cinema nearby, just by asking. The team met with Jeremy Stratman at NAIAS to find out what’s next for Mapbox in the context of connected vehicles.

Using efficiency to address the congestion problem

Assuming that super smart maps, sensor networks, and big data are able to make self-driving vehicles a reality, what then? What happens when those who took the train to work so that they could get a head start on their day are able to achieve the same ends from the comfort of their own vehicle? Or when those previously unable to drive take to the roads to explore their new-found freedom? An increased volume of traffic is likely.

So how do we solve the problem of congestion due to heavy road use? Matt Bellias discusses the options, including car-pooling, and on-demand transport like Olli, the cognitive shuttle bus. On-demand vehicles may be able to retain elements of personalization to suit the driver/passenger who hails them thanks to recognition techniques or a log-in process, so that shared vehicles still feel like your own car.

Learn more and keep up with IBM at CAR Symposium

Curious to learn more about connected transport? Keep up with innovations in automated vehicles by registering for Harriet Green’s keynote speech at this year’s CAR Symposium.