Watson Meets the Beetle

Nothing kicks an OEM into gear like a crisis.

Nothing kicks an OEM into gear like a crisis. When something untoward occurs, you’ll generally find that practices of the past get kicked to the curb and new initiatives are pursued with uncharacteristic zeal.

Case in point is Volkswagen Group which, in the aftermath of the Diesel Imbroglio, has been quickly transforming itself into a purveyor of not just cars and SUVs, but of advanced technologies, such as a promised portfolio of electric—not just electrified, but full-on battery-powered—vehicles.


Yesterday Volkswagen and IBM announced that they’ve entered into a five-year agreement whereby the two firms will jointly develop digital mobility services, or as Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand responsible for Sales, describes it, “the development of personalized digital services for the driver, with a view to actively shaping the growing trend towards networking between vehicles and drivers.”

So, for example, they’re going to be developing what they’re calling “We Commerce,” which will provide a driver—who has to opt in—with information about relevant commercial services along the route, such as filling stations and hotels. This will be highly personalized.

We Commerce, as well as other services developed, will be operated by a Volkswagen Cloud and an IBM hybrid cloud.

According to Dirk Wollschläger, IBM General Manager Global Automotive Industry, “Our objective is to establish an open marketplace for developers so that they have the possibility of creating a joint digital platform. Volkswagen will benefit from our long-standing industry expertise, our cloud services and our AI-based Watson technologies as well as our digital design know-how.”