IBM Watson Integrates with BMW CarData to Offer Third-Party Services

IBM Watson teamed up with the recently-released BMW CarData to enable vehicle data-sharing with third parties, the companies said yesterday.

BMW CarData will allow up to 8.5 million BMW customers globally to make use of third-party services in a secure and transparent way, by enabling customized service options based on data gathered from the vehicle — including fuel consumption, mileage, acceleration and more. With IBM, the company will integrate Bluemix cloud computing platform, allowing that data to be stored and analyzed by Watson IoT, IBM’s artificial intelligence tool. The data is then sent to third parties of the owner’s choosing—such as insurance companies or auto shops.

“What you can do is analyze driving behavior, and analyze it in a context, and get information on acceleration and how the car is used [for instance],” Stefan Schumacher, director of Automotive Industry Solutions at IBM, told Mobility Finance. This kind of information can be used by insurance companies, for example, as well as inform the driver on how to optimize his or her driving performance.

CarData integration isn’t the first automotive venture for IBM Watson. In October 2016, IBM and General Motors teamed up with OnStar Go. Like BMW’s CarData, OnStar Go uses Watson technology to analyze data collected by the vehicle and deliver that information to relevant businesses.

The idea of an open-source platform like BMW CarData is a very “European” one, Schumacher said, partly because the European Commission will require OEMs to provide a certain set of data points for access by third parties by 2018; BMW CarData is ahead of the curve on this requirement.

IBM will also act as a neutral server for all the vehicle data from any and all OEMs that partner with them.

“The concept of a neutral server fosters innovation by establishing a single point of contact for multiple parties to access vehicle data from various manufacturers, thereby reducing integration cost whilst ensuring fair competition,” Dirk Wollschlaeger, general manager of IBM’s global automotive, aerospace and defense business, said in a statement.

This can have an impact for many mobility players including fleet managers, Schumacher explained. Since fleet operators usually have cars from more than one OEM, it makes sense to have a neutral server for all the disparate information. “Especially the finance part,” he said, adding, that IBM’s services can help determine how a car has been treated over time, thus informing things like the resale value.

The first use cases and client services from the IBM and CarData partnership will launch in the fall of 2017.

“A lot of things will show up and be clearer with the first [use cases]…We are looking for the creativity from partners,” Schumacher said.

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