By on October 26, 2016

GM Onstar Plus

General Motors is teaming up with IBM to implement Watson’s artificial intelligence so that it can advertise while you are trying to drive. Your dashboard is about to become a billboard.

That, Uber delivers a truckload of beer using a self-driving vehicle, Mini’s Countryman gains size and compatibility with electricity, and Hyundai’s earnings tank… after the break!


OnStar is getting an Advertising AI 

The Detroit News reports that General Motors and IBM Corp. are partnering to produce the auto industry’s first cognitive mobility platform, allowing GM to send personalized marketing offers to millions of drivers beginning early next year.

“Personalized marketing” is code for rampant targeted advertising beamed directly into your car.

The companies said OnStar Go will use the artificial intelligence capabilities of IBM’s Watson — the computer that was a contestant on Jeopardy in 2011 — to offer deals and advice in the vehicle dashboard. GM says the system could help a driver avoid traffic, assist in paying for gas, or order a cup of coffee while en route to pick it up.

However, as none of those things are even remotely difficult or time consuming in the first place, this just seems like a good way to ensure OnStar users making use of specific products and brands. Initial partners include MasterCard, ExxonMobil, Glympse, iHeartRadio and Parkopedia. So expect to use your in-car payment methods to be MasterCard only and your fuel-finding app to recommend ExxonMobil stations above all others.

Watson will even be able to learn a driver’s preferences, and companies working with IBM and OnStar can tailor location-based offers to specific vehicles. The companies said the system would be available in more than 2 million vehicles in the United States that feature 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspots by the end of 2017. It also will be available to millions of GM-brand app mobile devices.

Uber Otto

World’s First: Uber drops off beer not already inside someone

Bloomberg is reporting that a tractor trailer full of beer drove itself down Colorado’s I-25 last week with nobody behind the wheel. Uber Technologies Inc. and Anheuser-Busch teamed up on the delivery, which they said is the first time a self-driving truck had been used to make a commercial shipment.

Escorted by the police, the 18-wheeler chugged along for 120 miles while a truck driver relaxed in the sleeper cab. The delivery is largely a publicity stunt to show the public that Otto, the self-driving vehicle group that Uber acquired in July, could successfully put an autonomous truck on public roads without it resulting in disaster.

“We wanted to show that the basic building blocks of the technology are here; we have the capability of doing that on a highway,” said Lior Ron, the president and co-founder of Uber’s Otto unit. “We are still in the development stages, iterating on the hardware and software.”

Anheuser-Busch estimates it could save $50 million a year in the U.S. if it deploys autonomous trucks across its distribution network — even if drivers continued to ride along and supplement the technology. Obviously that dollar figure would jump if they just laid everyone off.

That won’t happen just yet. The truck can only drive autonomously on the highway, meaning drivers shouldn’t have to worry about finding a new profession anytime soon. “The focus has really been and will be for the future on the highway,” Ron said. “Over 95 percent of the hours driven are on the highway. Even in the future as we start doing more, we still think a driver is needed in terms of supervising the vehicle.”

Mini Countryman

Mini’s not-so-small Countryman goes plug-in hybrid

As previously announced, the new 2017 Mini Countryman is available as a plug-in hybrid for the first time. Mini is also offering up their all-wheel-drive as optional for every drivetrain. But the AWD system on the terribly named Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 hybrid will differ from the rest. Since the three-cylinder combustion engine powers the front wheels and the electric motor works on the rear, only one system is active at any time until conditions require all-wheel drive. The car operates in three distinct modes, one of which will hold the battery at a 90 percent charge until the driver wants to use it.

The Countryman’s length has stretched an additional 7.7 inches, and its width has increased by 1.3 inches. The base front-wheel-drive Minis come with a 134 horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. More expensive Cooper S crossovers have the option of an eight-speed auto and a 189 hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder power source.

The top-trim hybrid Mini produces 221 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque, but manual transmissions go out the window when you go electric. Under the best of conditions, the hybrid can travel 24 miles on electric power alone, though that mode is limited to a friendly 77 mph. Recharging the lithium-ion batteries at a 3.6-kilowatt wall box takes roughly the same time as a long movie. Charging using a standard 110-volt outlet will be a movie marathon, however.

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA)

Hyundai’s third quarter is even worse than expected

Hyundai Motor’s third-quarter profit fell to its lowest point in nearly seven years, well below already low forecasts. Fortune said the company attributes the poor showing to production-crippling strikes and weak demand in emerging markets.

South Korea’s largest automaker said its July-September earnings fell 10 percent from a year earlier to 1.06 trillion won ($937 million). Analysts had forecast 1.3 trillion won in earnings according to FactSet, a financial data provider.

Hyundai said its sales in January-September declined 2 percent from the year before, falling both at home and overseas. With the sport utility vehicle market growing everywhere, Hyundai has had difficulties producing SUVs and crossovers. They’ve also had difficulty with production in general.

Workers walked out of annual wage negotiations for 212 hours, from July to September, severely disrupting manufacturing to the tune of 95,000 vehicles.

[Images: General Motors; Uber; BMW Group; Hyundai Motors]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

41 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: GM Plans to Sell You Things Inside Your Own Car...”

  • avatar

    In-car advertising. I knew it was coming.

    Watch this 20 second Pandora commercial twice a week, and get free On* service for two months!

    You’re low on fuel, let me route you without asking to an Exxon station before you drive to work!

    Ugh. If there were ever an impetus to avoid getting the navigation/screen package, this is it.

  • avatar

    Advertisers: Hey, did you know we found two places in average people’s daily lives where they aren’t already being bombarded with advertising: in the car and in the bathroom. Let’s find more ways to advertise to them!

    I really, really, really resent the idea of companies turning something that I bought into a method of pushing more advertising at me that I don’t want. And yes, I know how this web site is paid for.

  • avatar

    We’ll each person has choices to make, do we let this happen or not.

    Note: Divided we fall!

  • avatar

    If only GM were interested in selling good cars…

  • avatar

    “Minority Report” starts to look less and less like science fiction every day…

  • avatar

    “It’ll end up where you’ve got to push past the advertising in some way by accept/decline/click before you can access the navigation or stereo screens.”

    Holy [email protected], what a nightmare.

  • avatar

    GM has already done this. I was subjected to a surprise advertisement for OnStar booming through my stereo one day, and there was no way to make it stop. Needless to say I wasn’t happy.

  • avatar

    Pretty sure Ford will be following GM with the advertisements in car.

    Earlier this year I did a survey conducted by Ford (I own a Ford) and it was 30-40 questions, all about in car tech and internet.

    There were multiple questions about having “shopping apps” available on your car’s infotainment system.


  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I’m on board with all of those who hate this… but I suspect that boat has already sailed. Advertising is built into literally everything these days and too much of the drone-like population will just go along with it.

    I just bought a new Samsung Smart TV and little ads pop up at the bottom of the screen when I attempt to change my programming source. I’ve already turned off the interactive advertising function but I can’t find a way to deep-six these ads. I’m ready to pitch the new set.

    It’s clear that what the consumer wants matters not all all. At least give us the option to turn it off. But that won’t happen. We’ll have to click through an acceptance before we can use the head unit’s functions.

    And shopping apps? In a moving vehicle? Maybe it’s time to get the feds involved.

    • 0 avatar

      Apparently it is possible to turn off those pop up ads:-

      Good luck!

      • 0 avatar
        Steve Biro

        Thanks. I already had SyncPlus and Interactive advertising turned off. And it was still off last time I checked. But it was on again today. This will obviously require checking fairly frequently. Thanks again.

    • 0 avatar

      The feds will be placated once manufacturers start installing those screens that show two different images depending on the angle. Passengers can still be bombarded with ads, the driver can just receive audio ads.

  • avatar

    Did OnStar also become free? If not, *wire snip*.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I’d simply disconnect the cellular antenna from the module that supports OnStar. Since the module can’t tell the difference between no signal inside a tunnel and no signal due to no antenna, the car has to be fully functional without a cellular connection in either case. Tell the next owner what you did in the unlikely event they want to pay for OnStar.

  • avatar

    I will be recommending that friends avoid GM

  • avatar

    Why don’t we just get this over with and require everyone to get facial ad tattoos?

  • avatar

    It’ll be interesting to see which manufacturer is the first to offer a 5-10% (or more) discount on the vehicle if you’ll accept in-car advertising.

  • avatar

    Considering most of the targeted ads I see online are telling me about stuff that I’ve already bought, the artificial intelligence behind the targeting needs to be smarter.

    Yes, the fact that I bought a particular digital camera battery charger could mean I might buy another some day, but I’ve moved on to other things. If my computer is spying on me, it should at least know whether I’ve bought something as a result of my searching.

  • avatar

    Maybe all we need is a lawsuit against GM and Exxon because their ads caused me to loose attention and crash. I’m sure we can find a lawyer willing to go after those cash cows.

    But, let’s talk about something more pleasant, beer delivery by robots! If that don’t make America great again, I don’t know what will.

  • avatar

    Many states are like Missouri and have multi-tiered beer distribution. Producers can’t distribute or retail. Distributors are a protected monopoly with territories. They have a good racket going with lobbyists and the works. No self driving truck is ever going to deliver beer in Missouri.

  • avatar

    We don’t even let the dealer put their sticker on the car unless they opt to pay us for the advertising. None have agreed to pay us so we have no stickers on the cars.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Art Vandelay: Additionally, the AT itself was IBM’s second gen home PC, following the XT. Prior to that you had...
  • Art Vandelay: If you do so much as disturb the dirt in the dried out portions of the Salton Sea doesn’t a toxic...
  • eggsalad: I’m glad that a very limited number of people had the combination of wealth and bad taste it took to...
  • RHD: The one trick pony just has to keep repeating the same trick. EVs are improving every year (every month,...
  • RHD: The steering wheel is pretty nice, though, and part of the side view is elegant. The rest of it is unbearably...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber