GM and IBM make more cognitive infotainment

On Star Go would provide car occupants more-personal user experience

Published: November 4, 2016, 5:25 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:23 PM


General Motors is partnering up with IBM to introduce what the two are calling the “auto industry’s first cognitive mobility platform” — On Star Go.

Available from 2017, the new On Star Go takes advantage of On Star’s robust connectivity and data capabilities, and combines it with IBM Watson to allow vehicle occupants to connect to their environment more easily and efficiently.

“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,” said Phil Abram, Executive Director, GM Connected Products and Strategy. “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.”

Watson allows computers to process information more like humans: through senses, learning, and experience. It continuously learns from previous interactions, increasing its knowledge over time; that makes it ideal for driving, which is one of the most repetitive and experience-dependant tasks and interactions for humans.

Among the experiences On Star Go would be able to enhance would be to get favourite music from online radio services, rerouting the vehicle to avoid traffic when fuel level is low, and even paying for fuel directly from the infotainment system. It would also be able to suggest restaurants in strange towns based on the driver’s history of eating establishments. Everything would be done with the user able to tailor privacy preferences, which means the service wouldn’t be able to collect and distribute information about the user without permission.

The service would also tie into sponsors, which would allow specific content to be forwarded to drivers. For example, Exxon Mobil is already on board as a sponsor, so when the vehicle is running low on fuel, the system would provide info on the closest fuel stations, with Exxon or Mobil stations rising to the top of the lists. It would also be able to recommend lubricants and additives, and allow people to simply pay from inside the car and proceed through the automatic car wash.

Similarly, Parkopedia would provide detailed parking spot information on the go, with detailed operation times of lots and prepayment options (again through the infotainment screen). And the way to process those payment transactions might be through MasterCard (another company that has already joined the platform).

Other services on board include Glympse (which shares precise location), iHeartRadio (which asks for preferred music in order to share relevant audio content, and also learns favourite music and genres the longer drivers listen).

“IBM and GM are changing the whole notion of where valuable, daily rituals occur.  The combination of IBM Watson and industry-leading OnStar connectivity will enable vehicles with intelligent branded skills and services to empower drivers and passengers,” said Paul Papas, Global Leader, IBM iX. “Simply put, OnStar Go with IBM Watson transforms time wasted in the car into time well spent.”