Cloud Computing

Getting Onboard the Future of Transportation Today

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We have all been imagining a future with self-driving vehicles for a while now, but the truth is you don’t need to leap years ahead to find them. Transportation industry leaders have made some incredible technology breakthroughs that have brought us much closer to the reality of driver-less vehicles. The technology is here, but how will we get passengers onboard? One of the biggest challenges will be the passenger experience. It will be imperative to make using these vehicles easy, fluid, comfortable and safe.

Local Motors CEO and co-founder John B. Rogers, Jr. with “Olli"  & IBM, Weds. June 15, 2016... National Harbor, MD (Rich Riggins/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

Local Motors CEO and co-founder John B. Rogers, Jr. with “Olli” & IBM, Weds. June 15, 2016… National Harbor, MD (Rich Riggins/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

Imagine getting into a vehicle and being able to ask questions all about your journey: Where should I go to eat nearby? What is the history of the local historical site? Even questions about how the vehicle works: Why did we slow down? How many passengers can fit?

By having authentic conversations with riders about their journey the more they will be connected to technology itself, making them part of the experience rather than an observer. This user experience is the key to making self-driving vehicles a real part of our lives rather than a tech vision of the future. If transportation and technology partners can can combine our understanding of “things” with the understanding of people for richer interaction.

Connecting people with technology in meaningful and powerful ways is IBM’s chief focus and one that we have been refining across industries and solutions with the unique cognitive capabilities of IBM Watson. Cognitive computing can take full advantage of massive amounts of streaming data from all connected devices and then take that data to learn at scale, reason with purpose and interact with humans in the natural way in order to progress toward making technology work for us and make the world a smarter place.

I’m extremely excited for this new vision that IBM can help bring to life today with Local Motors, manufacturer of co-created automotive technologies and creator of the world’s first 3D-printed car. Today we’ve unveiled Olli, the first self-driving vehicle that uses the unique cognitive computing capabilities of Watson to dramatically improve how passengers engage with self-driving vehicles.

What’s unique about Olli is that it leverages IBM
Watson Internet of Things (IoT) to analyze the massive volume of transportation and rider awareness data from more than 30 sensors embedded throughout the vehicle and provide the interface and platform for interaction between the passengers and Olli. Olli is able to have authentic conversation with riders about how the vehicle works, where they are going, and why Olli is making specific driving choices. All of these interactions with Olli are aimed to help create an exceptional experience as riders take their first journey in autonomous vehicles.

Olli was unveiled during a grand opening event of the new Local Motors Experience Lab in National Harbor, a location well known for unique consumer experiences from shopping to entertainment. Here Local Motors will launch Olli and allow the public to interact with it, will allow for us to learn more about how to connect passengers to technology in ways that matter. We will also expand our research, helping develop and create additional Ollis at Local Motors headquarters near Phoenix and IBM Watson IoT’s AutoLAB – an industry focused incubation engines for co-creation of cognitive mobility applications.

With Olli, each traveler will have a unique, personalized experience, helping provide an exciting journey shows just how much tomorrows vision is here today. As we continue to explore this experience and how to make it one that each passenger can trust and enjoy, we will shape and accelerate how the world’s adoption of self-driving vehicles, revolutionizing the future of transportation for years to come.

Olli is a remarkable example the endless possibilities cognitive computing provides the transportation industry. But there are no boundaries on where and how we can create exceptional experiences by making them more personal, adaptive and intelligent in this cognitive era.

Former CEO & Chair of IBM Asia Pacific

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