IBM has partnered with BMW to research how the technology company's Watson artificial intelligence system can help with driver-assist functions.
A team of BMW engineers will work with IBM researchers and developers at IBM's new Watson Internet of Things headquarters in Munich.
Four BMW i8 hybrid sports cars will be connected to IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform to demonstrate how Watson can enable new conversational interfaces between cars and drivers, IBM said.
"With this agreement, our companies will work together to lay the foundations so that BMW drivers can benefit from Watson’s conversational and machine learning capabilities," Harriet Green, IBM global head of the Watson Internet of Things business, said in a statement.
"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," Green said.
BMW’s agreement with IBM is the latest move by an automaker in the race to develop fully connected vehicles. Automakers and suppliers have invested billions of dollars in recent years to develop technology related to connected and autonomous vehicles.
The i8’s owner manual will be uploaded into Watson, which will allow drivers to ask questions about the vehicle in their “natural” language and receive answers while safely driving, said Niklaus Waser, IBM head of Watson Internet of Things in Europe, in an interview.
Watson will also be able to incorporate traffic updates and weather information to make up-to-the-minute route suggestions, and it will be able to monitor driver behavior to personalize the car to enhance safety, performance and comfort, Waser said.
“We will work together so that BMW drivers can benefit from Watson’s machine learning capabilities,” he said.
IBM this year said it would invest $200 million into the Munich Watson Internet of Things headquarters, where it plans to collaborate with companies in industries including automotive, health care and electronics.
BMW is the first automaker to partner with IBM’s Watson team in Munich. Waser said IBM hopes to collaborate with other automakers in the future, as well.