IBM has revealed a 3D-printed driverless car that uses Watson cognitive computing technology to power its autonomous functions.
The Olli electric car was created by Local Motors and uses IBM's Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive software that has natural language comprehension to enable passengers to have conversations with the vehicle.
Olli can carry up to 12 people who can ask the car about attractions in the surrounding area, location recommendations based on personal preferences, and how the vehicle works.
Watson can also help the car learn by analysing data harvested by over 30 sensors in the cloud and sending it back to the car’s systems.
The vehicle is being tested in Washington DC, and soon in Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas, and the interactions with passengers set it apart from driverless cars made by Audi and Mercedes.
It also stands out by being 3D printed, while other autonomous cars are built from more traditional materials or have driverless systems added to existing models.
Harriet Green, general manager of IBM’s Watson IoT, commerce and education division, explained that the company's partnership with Local Motors will explore how cognitive computing can be used in self-driving vehicles.
"Cognitive computing provides incredible opportunities to create unparalleled, customised experiences for customers, taking advantage of the massive amounts of streaming data from all devices connected to the IoT, including an automobile’s myriad sensors and systems," she said.
IBM is using Watson in an increasing number situations, ranging from unmanned coffee shops to complex local weather modelling with The Weather Company.
However, competition is heating up in the driverless car space as technology firms and car companies develop more automation and fully autonomous systems. Jaguar Land Rover is creating driverless systems that behave like human drivers.
Driverless cars are cleared for testing on UK roads, and it is only a matter of time before we see vehicles similar to Olli making their way down public highways.
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