Ford Motor Company has formed a multi-million dollar partnership with IBM’s Watson platform to improve car chips used in a wide range of applications from Internet connectivity to autonomous vehicles.
The company believes that the partnership will enable Watson to achieve capabilities never before seen in AI-powered chips. It was announced Monday morning at CES, the world’s largest consumer technology trade show.
Ford said that it is planning to launch “almost all” of its car products with Watson chips in 2020.
The automaker also announced two other collaborations with IBM: Watson for Cars, which will allow users to book and pay for rides from within an app on their phones, and Watson for IoT, a blockchain technology that lets machines act as electronic central computers to accelerate decision-making.
The Watson move comes as car companies struggle to remain competitive as drivers increasingly turn to mobile apps for self-driving and connected services. Google and others have already launched products that enable such mobile apps, including Google Maps and Apple Maps.
To avoid getting lost in the deluge of competing mobile apps, Ford will rely on its own separate MobileX network for devices such as mobile applications, in-car technology and more. MobileX has the capabilities to deliver voice activation, graphics, gesture control and internet connections and is already installed in over 1.6 million Ford cars, buses and trucks.
“IBM Watson will allow us to build an easier, faster and smarter Ford that the world wants,” says Mike Sena, VP and chief technology officer for Ford. “Our car is a bridge to a connected world with each car having more computer intelligence, information and services than it ever has before.”
In addition to connecting people, the car is an increasingly important component of an enterprise, and partnerships are common to deal with rising auto threats from within and without.
Today’s announcement also follows a broader partnership with Samsung. In July, Ford announced it was building an AI system to help power an artificially intelligent in-car ecosystem with Samsung’s Galaxy Assistant.