IBM Watson Invades General Motors OnStar To Advertise Goods And Services While You Drive

Have you ever forgotten to pick something up on your ride home, or wished for restaurant recommendations while cruising through a new city? Your car could potentially provide the solution to these problems and more through the use of artificial intelligence. General Motors and IBM have announced a partnership that will combine OnStar and IBM’s Watson to create OnStar Go, the first auto cognitive mobility platform.

Phil Abram, Executive Director, GM Connected Products and Strategy, remarked, “On average, people in the U.S. spend more than 46 minutes per day in their car and are looking for ways to optimize their time. By leveraging OnStar’s connectivity and combining it with the power of Watson, we’re looking to provide safer, simpler and better solutions to make our customers’ mobility experience more valuable and productive.”

onstar go

OnStar already provides drivers (and passengers) with places to eat, shop, and do things. OnStar’s vehicle connectivity and Watson’s data capabilities, however, with the user’s permission, will work together to learn the driver’s preferences. OnStar Go will begin to recognize the driver’s habits and send that information to different companies in order to offer individualized location-based recommendations.

ExxonMobil, Glympse, iHeartRadio, Mastercard and Parkopedia are the first brands to join the platform, and more are expected to follow. Mastercard and Exxonmobile, for example, will both allow payments to be made from the vehicle, while Parkopedia will provide information about parking structures.

onstar in the car

Paul Papas of IBM iX, noted, “IBM and GM are changing the whole notion of where valuable, daily rituals occur...Simply put, OnStar Go with IBM Watson transforms time wasted in the car into time well spent.”

GM first introduced OnStar twenty years ago, and although OnStar Go is not part of the self-driving vehicle revolution, its capabilities in some ways meet the desires of NVIDIA’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. Huang recently stated that he envisions vehicles with artificial intelligence that would mold to each individual's preferences. He wants to be able to turn on his car and “talk” to the AI.

By the end of 2016, GM expects to have twelve million OnStar vehicles on the road and OnStar Go is expected to launch in early 2017.