In a way, your car is already connected. It tells you when you’re about to run out of gas, if you’re primed for an oil change or if there’s an issue with your engine. But these indicators are just a rough outline of the state of your vehicle. What if, rather than a broad idea, your car had a little more intuition and could give you an accurate assessment of its oil quality? Even suggest the best gasoline for you based on how you drive?
That – and more – is what ExxonMobil is investigating. They are one of the initial companies to join up with IBM and GM on their new venture, OnStar Go, the auto industry’s first cognitive mobility platform.
ExxonMobil is no stranger to the connected car space, having introduced Speedpass+ earlier this year. The app lets you pay for gas from the comfort of your vehicle, using your smartphone. It also tells you where the nearest Exxon or Mobil station is. But OnStar Go unleashes Speedpass+’s full potential and offerings from other companies eager to enter the connectivity marketplace.
“With OnStar Go we’re going to be able to build in intuitive types of predictive recommendations like how to drive more efficiently,” said Susan Johnson, the business lead for ExxonMobil’s connected car team. “The platform is going to give drivers additional functionality leveraging the capabilities of IBM’s Watson.”
You may know Watson, IBM’s cognitive computing platform, from his recent conversations with Serena Williams and Stephen King, and for famously winning on Jeopardy over human contestants. He’s good at answering questions, but he’s also good at drawing insights from reams of data. And when you combine him with GM’s well-known vehicle connectivity platform, OnStar, you get a breeding ground for creating the ultimate driving experience.
“In addition to giving advice on the best Mobil lubricant for your vehicle, we will even have fuel-efficiency tips, with IBM’s Watson and data from the Weather Company,” Johnson says. “We will be able to make personalized and relevant recommendations to you based on the way you drive.”
OnStar Go will be available in GM vehicles in 2017.
The more your car knows – the better connected it is – the more it can “think and learn” for you. A lot of cars can already keep you in one lane, alert you that you’re too close to an object and brake in case of an emergency.
Each of these innovations makes cars a little more self-sufficient and requires the driver to do less and less work. And it adds a little intuition that brings us one step closer to the world of driverless cars.