IBM study shows auto execs are embracing cognitive technology

According to a report entitled
According to a report entitled "A New Relationship: People and Cars," 54 percent of consumers were highly interested in the experiences of self-enabling vehicles. | Contributed image

Many automotive industry executives are ready and willing to embrace cognitive, or connected, technology, essentially harnessing and using the vast amounts of data vehicles will produce in the future.

A clear majority of executives, particularly among original equipment manufcuterers (OEMs) are either planning to invest or want to invest in developing such technology, according to a survey recently published by IBM.

Vehicles in the future will be able to understand, reason, never stop learning, and interact with drivers, dealerships and potentially even insurance companies, said Benjamin T. Stanley, automotive research leader with IBM Institute for Business Value

Stanley and IBM colleague Binoy Damodaran spoke on the Cognitive Effect on Automotive: Unleashing Exceptional Experiences from an Abundance of Data, the latest in a series of webinars on various aspects of the industry. The forum was organized by Automotive News.

The pair delivered a presentation and engaged in a question-and-answer session, as well as revealing details of a recent survey of industry executives that showed there is growing enthusiasm to harness cognitive, or connected, technology.

Stanley, responsible for the development of thought-leadership content and strategic business insights for IBM's automotive arm and with 40 years of experience, explained a tremendous trove of data is already captured by a vehicle. But that data is not being used to its full potential.

The next step is developing and harnessing unstructured data, including intelligent sensors. Stanley told the webinar that autonomous vehicles alone will be able to generate and consume 4,000 gigabytes of data a day by 2025. Essentially, he said, the car will "take care of itself."

He cited as an example a motorist who parks his vehicle and then goes to a store. The car is struck while the driver is in the store. Following the crash, the car will immediately recognize what is damaged, diagnose the problem, and even file a claim.

"The vehicle senses it has been hit, takes a picture, look at the surrounding environment and conditions, gathers this information, and alerts the owner," Stanley said. "It can then communicate with the dealership, estimate costs of repairs, maybe even file a claim, all while the driver is still shopping in the store."

Cognitive technology is available, but is not being used to its full potential. A car will be able in the future to understand, reason, will never stop learning, and interact with humans, Stanley predicted.

"This is kind of way out there, but it is still a scenario that we believe will be possible," Stanley explained to his webinar audience.

IBM’s report suggests that the industry has reached a tipping point in favor of cognitive technology within the auto industry. The company surveyed 500 executives.

Key results included: 65 percent reported value from structured and unstructured data; more than 60 percent think cognitive technology is market ready; 60 percent say cognitive technology will be a disruptive force; and among OEMs, 58 percent planned to implement connected technology within the next three years.

Overall, OEMs are more ready for this connected technology than suppliers, the study found. A previous survey carried out by IBM found that consumers are also excited by the possibilities of connected vehicles.

According to the 2016 report entitled "A New Relationship: People and Cars," 54 percent of consumers were highly interested in the experiences self-enabling vehicles might be able to offer them.

Damodaran told the webinar that the industry has to focus on innovation, both the way a business functions and on the rapidly developing technology.

A consultant in the auto industry for 16 years, Damodaran urged manufacturers and suppliers to apply these new capabilities "to deliver new experiences for your customers."

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