Convergence, collaboration and the future of cognitive cars

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Distinguished Engineer, Chief Technology Officer Automotive Industry Japan, IBM

The smart car—also known as the cognitive vehicle of tomorrow—impacts all industries, all lifestyles, all brands and all mobility modes today and in the future of the Internet of Things. An intelligent and intuitive vehicle is characterized by self-driving and self-healing capabilities, but it can also be defined by self-integrating, self-configuring, self-learning and self-socializing capabilities. By bringing all these characteristics together, we can share the vision of a cognitive vehicle from a consumer perspective.

Innovation spanning disparate industries

However, one company alone cannot build a truly cognitive car. Indeed, building an autonomous vehicle requires an entire cultural shift, within companies across different industries, to steer the engineering-driven, autonomous vehicle movement forward. And different organizations, working in silos, are independently innovating within this shifting landscape. Consider several examples:

  • Concrete, a tier-one automotive supplier, is building key technologies that define vehicles and industry insights.
  • An anonymous consumer electronics company is enhancing vehicles with advanced Internet of Things devices through a new, separate product lifecycle that focuses on consumer experience and lifestyle.
  • An anonymous technology company with cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security (CAMSS) capabilities is beaming software and services into vehicles to leverage them for new business models and reshaping system integration from a digital perspective.

What if we could find a way for all three of these companies to benefit from the knowledge of their separate product lifecycles? What if we could outthink the norm and help them build new, strong partnerships that define the cognitive car of the future?

Cognitive cars as personal devices

Even an automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) can’t be a sole builder of cognitive vehicles. Business competencies are limiting, and the focus needs to go beyond thinking that is oriented toward engineering. And consider that including an automotive OEM in this partnership may enable building an even stronger roadmap toward creating cognitive vehicles.

One solution for unifying disparate cognitive technologies into existing vehicles, and into the design of future vehicles, is to build cognitive technologies into an Internet of Things device for personalized experiences. This device can be attached like a dongle to an existing vehicle and transferred easily to others.

OEMs could use these portable and dynamic technologies to create completely different brand experiences, personalized for specific, personal preferences. Aspects such as what you sell, how it's serviced, how you buy services and how their marketing works are expected to all change. For example, why shouldn’t a cognitive car be able to function for various lifestyles—say, outdoor versus luxury—or for different business models, such as Uber versus car2go?

These problems—and their plethora of solutions—motivate us to help our customers. Using design thinking, we find solutions through strategic analysis and the creation of personalized journey maps—such as this autoMOBILE map produced for Panasonic.

Myriad possibilities

Together, we hope to change the landscape of Internet of Things for the automotive industry as we know it. IBM will share its thoughts on the possibilities at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2016.