IBM and GM Debut a “Cognitive Mobility Platform”

IBM and GM Debut a “Cognitive Mobility Platform. Hal on WheelsGeneral Motors and IBM are linking OnStar and IBM Watson together to create OnStar Go, claimed as the auto industry’s first cognitive mobility platform. Starting in early 2017, OnStar is selling to GM drivers the ability to connect and interact with their brands. The platform “will deliver personalized content through the dashboard and other digital channels supported by the OnStar Go system to make the most of time spent in the car.” Call it Hal – Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic – on wheels.

Translation: more distracted driving enablers are coming. OnStar has more connected vehicles on the road than any other automaker. By the end of 2016, GM expects to have 12 million OnStar connected vehicles on the road worldwide.

With the customer’s consent – be wary here of privacy and data mining issues – Watson will collect the driver’s preferences, apply machine learning and sift through data “to recognize patterns in their decisions and habits.”

This information will allow brand and marketing sales people working with IBM and OnStar to deliver “individualized location-based interactions that directly impact their target audiences.”

Companies in retail, fuel, hospitality, media and entertainment, restaurants and travel and transportation can use OnStar Go “to build individualized mobile, in-vehicle experiences for a growing population of connected drivers that opt-in.”

GM gushes that “these experiences could include avoiding traffic when you’re low on fuel, then activating a fuel pump and paying from the dash; ordering a cup of coffee on the go; or getting news and in-vehicle entertainment tailored to your personality and location in real time.”

 “On average, people in the U.S. spend more than 46 minutes per day in their car, according to AAA, and are looking for ways to optimize their time,” said Phil Abram, Executive Director, GM Connected Products and Strategy. “By leveraging OnStar’s connectivity and combining it with the power of Watson, we’re looking to provide safer, simpler and better solutions to make our customers’ mobility experience more valuable and productive.”

The GM/IBM partnership will expand the existing OnStar AtYourService (sic) offers and deals by launching new capabilities supported by OnStar Go with IBM Watson. This will be available in more than two million 4G LTE connected vehicles and millions of GM vehicle brand app-enabled mobile devices in the U.S. by the end of 2017.

The new cognitive mobility platform enables brands to design Watson-enabled consumer experiences. OnStar Go taps Watson Personality Insights and Watson Conversation APIs to sell things. The platform employs Watson Tradeoff Analytics to give a traveling foodie dining recommendations from celebrity chefs when driving in a new city. Watson Retrieve and Rank, used by OnStar Go, lets the driver know that their order is ready for pickup at a store and one of the store’s employees will load their purchases into the car.

“IBM and GM are changing the whole notion of where valuable, daily rituals occur.  The combination of IBM Watson and industry-leading OnStar connectivity will enable vehicles with intelligent branded skills and services to empower drivers and passengers,” claimed Paul Papas, Global Leader, IBM iX.

Hal on Wheels

ExxonMobil, Glympse, iHeartRadio, Mastercard and Parkopedia are the first brands to join the platform.

  • ExxonMobil will help drivers locate Exxon and Mobil retail fuel stations, recommend the best fuel and lubricant product for their vehicle, and authorize fuel payment from inside the vehicle. Consumers can even pay for a car wash or, when away from their car, get notified when they are low on fuel.
  • Glympse enables consumers and businesses to manage customized real-time location sharing with anyone on any device.
  • iHeartRadio will allow U.S. Drivers to share information from their calendars, social graph, location, music preferences.
  • Mastercard will enable drivers and passengers to make payments for goods and services.
  • Parkopedia will provide parking spot information — including opening hours and up-to-date prices as well as booking and payment capabilities.

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About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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