AT&T wants Watson in your car

AT&T  is working with partners to bring its Watson speech engine to connected vehicles.

Watson can best be described as a cloud-based, voice-enabled natural language mobile virtual assistant platform. Indeed, the number of connected vehicles is steadily increasing, while many car manufacturers are enabling connectivity by interfacing with the driver’s mobile phone.

AT&T is currently testing its Watson system in the connected city of Peachtree City, Georgia.

Partners include Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America and QNX Software Systems Limited.

AT&T is providing the connectivity network, Panasonic the hardware, and QNX the software platform.

IMHO, the system sounds a bit like a cross between Siri on the Apple iPhone 4S and the Sync system that Ford has on many of its vehicles.


AT&T claims that Watson is a multimodal and multilingual speech and language engine with the best performance in its class. Frankly, I’m particularly interested in how well it handles accents. For example, the Sync system that Ford uses frequently fails to recognize my light southern accent and repeatedly executes the wrong task.


Still, I do believe there is a viable market for this sort of system, especially it works and works well. Of course, if you have to repeatedly tell Watson what to do, the platform probably won’t widely be used. As Ford found out with its tech systems like Sync and MyFord Touch, a difficult to use system can cost a company dearly when it comes to consumer confidence.