The 'connected car' revolution gathers pace as GM launches its AI-based automotive personal assistant.

It seems automakers are no longer content to produce mere conveyances. As the “connected car” revolution gathers pace, cars will soon know as much, if not more, about your life than your smartphone. Even your friends.

General Motors is the latest manufacturer to announce its system, called OnStar Go, which has been developed in conjunction with IBM. The system combines GM’s existing OnStar services with IBM Watson artificial intelligence software to market relevant products and services directly to drivers.

Watson uses data collected by OnStar to learn about an individual driver’s habits and preferences. That information will then be used by third-party companies to provide location-based information and services.

ExxonMobil, Glympse, iHeartRadio, Mastercard, and Parkopedia are the first brands to sign up to OnStar Go. So the system can find the nearest Exxon or Mobil filling station when you’re low on fuel, which you pay for from the car on your Mastercard, while iHeartRadio finds the best local radio station for your taste in music, and Parkopedia finds a spot at your destination, which Glympse shares.

Watson’s machine learning capabilities could also produce a reminder to a working father that he needs to pick up diapers on the way home. Or suggest restaurants to a foodie. Or an arthouse theater to a movie buff.

Automakers are pouring money into connected car services in an effort to head off Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the race to turn cars into an extension of the driver's smartphone.

BMW employs an app-based service, BMW Connected, that provides many of the same services as OnStar Go. Porsche Connect, which launches with the 2017 Panamera, ties smartphone and infotainment system together to the same end.

Though these systems are not yet widespread, consumer groups are already voicing concerns about privacy and data protection.

OnStar Go launches early next year, in around two million 4G-enabled GM vehicles.

Source: Automotive News