BMW will be the first IBM client to collocate a team of researchers and engineers at IBM’s Watson IoT headquarters in Munich, Germany. (IBM notes that it’s working with other car makers as well.)
According to Niklaus Waser, head of Watson IoT Europe and leader of IBM’s Global Watson IoT Center, the car maker wants to look at how it can personalize the driving experience and create a more intuitive driver support system for BMW cars. “One of the benefits of machine learning is that a car can learn preferences and driving habits,” Waser says. “We can improve the comfort and safety of driving.”
Four BMW hybrid sports cars at the IoT center will be outfitted with Watson. “These are prototypes,” Waser says.
Waser said that IBM is specifically looking at six areas where it sees cars becoming more than just modes of transportation:
- Self-healing, which is where cars diagnose and fix themselves without human help;
- Self-socializing, which is when vehicles can connect to other vehicles;
- Self-learning, which is when cars have cognitive capability and can learn and give advice based upon driver behavior;
- Self-driving, which is when vehicles are fully automated;
- Self-configuring, which is when vehicles can adapt to driver preferences; and
- Self-integrating, when vehicles are integrated with other IoT systems, such as connecting to weather and traffic information.
In October IBM announced it was investing $200 million to make Munich its global headquarters for Watson IoT business. The company said at the time that it would use the center to develop to new IoT capabilities using a private Blockchain system of coding to structure data and improve IoT security.