Peugeot, IBM working to connect cars to shops and servicing

By REUTERS | 23 April 2015

FRANKFURT: PSA Peugeot Citroen and IBM are working together to hook cars up to the Internet, going beyond mapping and infotainment to link vehicles up to shops, service networks and urban transport grids, the companies said on Wednesday.

Financial terms of the new, seven-year partnership were not disclosed. The agreement to develop new types of valued-added services for vehicles builds on an initial partnership between the automaker and technology consultant announced a year ago.

The companies said in a joint statement they planned to develop services for drivers and passengers, as well as back-end applications that could perform preventive car maintenance and traffic management functions.

The partnership looks beyond existing driver navigation, roadside assistance and infotainment offerings popularized by tech firms such as Google and Apple, and map services from Nokia's HERE unit and TomTom.

Software analytics from the car and tapping into smart grids of sensors on traffic signs and streetlights could help manage congestion and cut down on pollution, as well as feeding back to service networks for preventive car maintenance programs.

It could also link vehicles to retailers, an IBM executive said.

Axel Rogaichus, head of IBM's automotive consulting practice in Europe, told Reuters it was one of the largest partnerships the computer services supplier had agreed so far in the automotive industry.

IBM reached a separate partnership agreement in 2013 with Germany's Continental AG, a top global auto parts supplier, to build an "electronic horizon" platform that enables cars to anticipate upcoming obstructions, for example.

IBM and PSA, Europe's second largest carmaker, said they had agreed to share responsibilities for developing, selling and marketing, and implementing connected services with new and existing clients of the firms.

The companies said they had established a center to work together in Paris to develop the new range of services.

The latest deal focuses on connecting passenger vehicles into a variety of network-connected platforms that IBM is developing with other auto industry partners.

But Rogaichus stopped short of saying whether Peugeot might consider working with other automakers to advance urban smartgrids and other remote, connected-car functions.