IBM has launched a new Cloud-based service to take advantage of the potential that the Internet of Things (IoT) will offer car makers.

The new IBM Cloud platform is geared towards helping auto companies deal with the volume of data generated by connected cars and their drivers, and use this information to make the whole driving process more efficient.

IBM says that this could include helping car makers deliver predictive vehicle maintenance, real-time diagnostics on engine trouble, as well as guide drivers to the most efficient traffic routes.

Car Data

The development comes after a Telefonica report predicted that by 2020, 90 percent of new cars will be equipped with “extensive connectivity services”.

There is no doubt that connected cars nowadays boast many onboard sensors, and this consequently means that car makers should be able to pull in a lot of external data from cars directly to their own cloud, for near real-time analysis. For example, road condition warnings could be issued to the car and driver in real-time, if digital mapping and crowd sourced data were analysed during a severe weather event.

IBM’s Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive solution is available on IBM Cloud’s SoftLayer infrastructure.

It aims to provide driver, vehicle and environmental insights through analytics. It will utilise both vehicle and geolocation data collected in the car, but will also tap into external third party data sources such as from parking providers, as well as a car maker’s customer data and vehicle history.

“With the significant increase in connected cars, automotive manufacturers have the ability to take near-real time data and put it to good use for drivers in a variety of ways – from finding the nearest parking space and most efficient route, to maintenance alerts that help drivers expect the unexpected,” said Dirk Wollschlaeger, general manager, global automotive industry at IBM.

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“By combining data directly from the car with other sources, the insights derived through the IBM IoT for Automotive solution have the potential to change how we interact with our vehicles moving forward.”

Connected Future

Earlier this year, Swedish car maker Volvo explained how it now it is looking to technology to ensure that driving remains a safe but also enjoyable experience.

The Volvo executive told TechweekEurope that a typical Volvo car now has over 100 sensors and processors per vehicle, alongside five radar and camera outputs. But he admitted that the challenge is to leverage the data being produced from these – both in the vehicle and outside.

In May Chinese equipment maker Huawei and German car maker Volkswagen announced they would co-operate on car connectivity, and will develop technology to “integrate smartphone functions with vehicle-mounted systems”.

Huawei has already promised a lightweight Internet of Things (IoT)-focused operating system called LiteOS.

And Gartner predicted earlier this year that the number of connected ‘smart’ cars, able to monitor the environment around them and possibly even drive themselves, will skyrocket in the next few years.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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