Automotive

BMW Group to start research with IBM in Munich IoT HQ collaboratory

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Cast your mind back to 1963 when a car called ‘Herbie’ stared in ‘the Love Bug’. Herbie was an automobile that could drive himself and ‘knew’ what his race-driver Jim wanted. Hop a few years forward to 1982 and ‘KITT‘ (Knight International Two Thousand) driven by Michael Knight had very much the same futuristic capabilities. Today, BMW will be the first partner to join IBM in their Munich IoT HQ ‘collaboratory’. Together, BMW and IBM will research and explore how cognitive computing can personalise the driving experience and create more intuitive driver support systems – like having a conversation with your car.

image of i8 automobile as IBM welcomes BMW to the Watson IoT Center in Munich to research cognitive vehiclesIBM welcomes BMW to their new Munich IoT HQ

Research and working together in an ‘industry collaboratory’

Where will this magic take place? BMW are co-locating a team of their researchers and engineers at IBM’s global headquarters for Watson Internet of Things (IoT) in Munich, Germany. This is very close to BMW’s own Bavarian HQ. The BMW engineers will work alongside IBM’s own researchers, developers and consultants on new Watson-powered innovations for next generation vehicles. This is all part of a $200m investment in the IBM IoT HQ announced last month and will be based in one of the newly-launched ‘industry collaboratories’.

An intelligent personal assistant for the BMW i8

To help with this research, IBM will be housing four BMW i8 hybrid sports cars within the Munich IoT HQ. IBM BlueMix will be the platform for Watson’s machine learning and IoT for Automotive will connect the vehicles. Watson will constantly learn about the driver’s preferences, needs and driving habits and understand and customize the driving experience as a result.

Got a question about how your i8 is performing? Ask your i8 just as you would talk to a friend, and your i8 will reply. Watson will learn the i8 owner’s manual and with the natural language capabilities to be able to understand the driver’s questions, he’ll understand what you’re asking and provide answers in a conversational style.

Watson joins BMW to research cars of the future

How will this personal assistant be developed? BMW has joined IBM in a new research and development collaboration. Together they will explore how cognitive computing can personalise the driving experience and create more intuitive driver support systems for future cars. IBM’s research group, the Institute for Business Value (IBV) reported recently in their study ‘A New Relationship – People and Cars‘ that vehicles are becoming part of the Internet of Things as new mobility options transform drivers’ and passengers’ lives and expectations.

BMW and IBM – cognitive research for cars of the future

Driving the future

To find out more about vehicles that connect with drivers as well as they do the road, visit the Watson IoT for Automotive website or read more about the story in the press release.

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