IBM is entering into a partnership with a Volkswagen subsidiary and two other European mobility companies to offer cloud computing services and artificial intelligence technology.
IBM will be working with Volkswagen Sachsen in Germany to implement SAP's S/4HANA resource planning software in an effort to streamline global financial processes for the Volkswagen car brand. Volkswagen Sachsen operates assembly and engine factories including VW Group's Zwickau electric-car factory that will build the VW ID3 and other compact EVs for Audi, Skoda and Seat.
In another partnership, IBM will work with a German startup, Moovster, to develop a mobility-services platform for employers, employees, citizens and municipalities that focuses on alternative transportation such as car sharing or bicycles. The platform will run in the IBM cloud.
In the third partnership announced Tuesday, Vinturas, a Dutch logistics startup company, will use IBM's blockchain technology to improve security of the movement of new and used cars among manufacturers, dealers, leasing companies and wholesale auctions.
The goal is to reduce tax and mileage fraud, which the EU Parliament says results in billions of euros of losses each year.
A spokeswoman said that IBM did not have a dollar figure for the size of its automotive business, but said that the company’s worked "across the automotive value chain," with a focus on artificial intelligence technology.
Traditional automakers, startups and suppliers are increasingly entering into partnerships with technology companies such as IBM to help with the huge investment and software expertise needed for trends such as autonomous driving, connectivity, mobility services and electrification.
In one example, Google will be working on "intelligent" infotainment systems with the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi alliance, which could be connected to cloud-based software updates and diagnostics.
Volkswagen has another partnership with Microsoft to develop what it calls the "Volkswagen Automotive Cloud" that will help to seamlessly combine third-party applications such as streaming media.
IBM itself is working with ZF Friedrichshafen to develop payment technology for future mobility services using IBM’s blockchain.
Experts believe that blockchain technology could simplify the recording of user data from fleets of autonomous vehicles, among other mobility-related uses. It is also partnering with Daimler on quantum computing applications. Other clients include Seat and Audi UK.