GM will use Watson AI to recommend services on the road

OnStar Go taps IBM's cognitive computing to pitch goods based on your driving habits.

Artificial intelligence isn't just being used to automate cars... it's finding a home in conventional cars, too. GM has unveiled a partnership with IBM that will see the Watson cognitive computing platform power OnStar Go, its latest in-car service offering. The AI technology will suggest stores and services based on your location, your decisions and your habits. If you're driving home from work, for example, OnStar can remind you to pick up shopping on the way back. It can also recommend restaurants when you arrive in a new city, or tell you that a store order is ready for pickup.

There are already a few companies signing up to use OnStar Go. Mastercard will enable on-the-move payments through cards stored in your Masterpass wallet. ExxonMobil will help you find gas stations, suggest the best fuel and oil and authorize payments while you're still in the car. Glympse will help you share where you are. iHeartRadio will create personalized radio streams based on your calendars, location and tastes, while Parkopedia will offer both parking info and the opportunity to book a spot while you're on your way.

Yes, this will frequently amount to in-car advertising -- GM isn't shy about acknowledging that this is an expansion of OnStar's existing offers and deals feature. All the same, Watson promises to be helpful. It can be cumbersome and even dangerous to search for services while you're in the car -- this lets you focus on the road. This also lays groundwork for self-driving cars, where finding destinations will be more important than figuring out how to reach those destinations.