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BMW places IBM’s Watson in the passenger seat

Prototype solutions which will run on IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform will help demonstrate how Watson can enable new conversational interfaces between cars and drivers


IBM will locate 4 BMW i8 hybrids at its Munich Watson IoT HQ
IBM will locate 4 BMW i8 hybrids at its Munich Watson IoT HQ

Drivers will be able to benefit from Watson's conversational capabilities

The car's manual will be ingested into Watson so drivers can ask it questions

BMW Group is mobilising a team of researchers to IBM’s global headquarters for Watson Internet of Things (IoT) in Munich, Germany, to demonstrate how Watson can enable new “conversational interfaces” between cars and drivers.


The automaker said it wants to improve personalisation of the driving experience and to create more “intuitive driver support” systems for future vehicles.


BMW is one of the first companies to sign up to be “collocated” inside IBM’s building within one of the newly-launched industry “collaboratories” (hands-on industry labs) where a team of BMW’s engineers will work alongside IBM’s team of developers and consultants.


"Watson is transforming how people interact with the physical world – helping to create safer, more efficient and personal experiences at home, at work and on the road," said Harriet Green, global head of IBM’s Watson IoT business.


"With this agreement, our companies will work together to lay the foundations so that drivers can benefit from Watson’s conversational and machine learning capabilities. Our insight shows that while the car will remain a fixture in personal transportation, the driving experience will change more over the next decade than at any other time of the automobile’s existence."


To further its automotive research and demonstrate the possibilities of Watson IoT technologies to clients, IBM plans to locate four BMW i8 hybrid sports cars at its Munich Watson IoT headquarters. Prototype solutions will run on IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform.


IBM recently pledged to invest $200m to make its new Munich centre one of the world’s most advanced facilities for collaborative innovation as part of a global investment of $3bn to bring Watson cognitive computing to the Internet of Things.


IBM claims the investment, one of the company’s largest ever in Europe, is in response to “escalating demand” from customers which are looking to transform their operations using a combination of IoT and artificial intelligence technologies. It reportedly has 6,000 clients globally, which are tapping Watson IoT solutions and services, an increase from 4,000 eight months ago.


IBM added that its Watson IoT headquarters will be home to the first ever cognitive IoT “collaboratories”, industry labs where clients and partners can work together with some 1,000 Munich-based researchers, engineers, developers and business experts to drive collaborative innovation in the automotive, electronics, manufacturing, healthcare and insurance industries.


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