First self-driving ‘cognitive’ vehicle uses IBM Watson Internet of Things

June 20, 2016

Olli (credit: Local Motors)

Local Motors, creator of the world’s first 3D-printed cars, has developed the first self-driving “cognitive” vehicle, using IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive.

The vehicle, dubbed “Olli,” can carry up to 12 people. It uses IBM Watson and other systems to improve the passenger experience and allow natural interaction with the vehicle. Olli will be used on public roads locally in Washington DC and later this year in Miami-Dade County.

Olli is the first vehicle to use the cloud-based cognitive computing capability of IBM Watson IoT to analyze and learn from high volumes of transportation data, produced by more than 30 sensors embedded throughout the vehicle. Sensors will be added and adjusted continually as passenger needs and local preferences are identified.

Four Watson developer APIs — Speech to Text, Natural Language Classifier, Entity Extraction and Text to Speech — will enable passengers to interact conversationally with Olli while traveling from point A to point B, discussing topics about how the vehicle works, where they are going, and why Olli is making specific driving decisions.

Watson empowers Olli to understand and respond to passengers’ questions as they enter the vehicle, such as destinations (“Olli, can you take me downtown?”) or specific vehicle functions (“how does this feature work?” or even “are we there yet?”). Passengers can also ask for recommendations on local destinations such as popular restaurants or historical sites based on analysis of personal preferences.

“Cognitive computing provides incredible opportunities to create unparalleled, customized experiences for customers, taking advantage of the massive amounts of streaming data from all devices connected to the Internet of Things, including an automobile’s myriad sensors and systems,” said Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson Internet of Things, Commerce & Education.

Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas are also exploring a pilot program in which several autonomous vehicles would be used to transport people around Miami and Las Vegas.

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