GM's OnStar Go Puts IBM Watson in Cars


General Motors and IBM this week introduced OnStar Go, a cognitive mobility platform powered by IBM Watson that will deliver personalized experiences to more than 2 million 4G LTE-connected vehicles by the end of 2017.

"We're looking to provide safer, simpler and better solutions," Phil Abram, executive director of GM connected products and strategy, said in a statement.

With the customer's consent, Watson will apply machine learning to study a driver's preferences, allowing for individualized location-based interactions with shops, hotels, movie theaters, restaurants, gas stations, and more.

OnStar Go, for example, may tap into Watson Personality Insights and Watson Conversation APIs to remind a working father to pick up diapers and formula before heading home. Or the platform could employ Watson Tradeoff Analytics to give a traveling foodie dining recommendations when visiting a new city.

The platform was designed and developed by IBM iX in conjunction with OnStar; iX is also working with GM to design the in-vehicle system's touch-screen interfaces.

"Simply put, OnStar Go with IBM Watson transforms time wasted in the car into time well spent," said Paul Papas, global leader of IBM iX. IBM-owned The Weather Company will provide weather and location data for personalized warnings about driving conditions.

Watson, meanwhile, is flexing its cognitive muscles with the new Watson Virtual Agent—a conversational technology that allows businesses to build and train online chatbots. For use on social media or SMS, in mobile apps, embedded within a website, or with other form factors, the bots include pre-trained cross-industry content for everyone from startups to seasons developers.

Staples, Autodesk, and The Weather Company are already putting IBM's technology to use. Staples, for example, has an ordering system that taps into Watcon Conversation, so the store can "offer a seamless ordering interface for customers across their ecosystem whether it's via their Easy Button, through the app, over Facebook Messenger or with a Slackbot."

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