Sarah Cooper describes the future of cars with a simple example–code-name, “Hot Dog.”
You have a car, and you have a dog. Let’s say the dog is a mutt that weighs about 20 pounds. You go for a ride on a warm, sunny day and stop for a coffee, leaving the dog in the car. “Hot Dog” would know that the 20-pound object panting in the back seat is not a toolbox, it’s your pet,” said Cooper, GM of Outcome Driven Engineering at Amazon Web Services (AWS), who has a dog named Gusminster Fuller—pictured above. “It would crack the windows, turn on the AC, and turn on a rear-seat camera to enable checking on your pooch from your phone.” Cooper is quick to point out, no one should be leaving their pets in a car, hot or otherwise, and something like “Hot Dog” would be an extra layer of protection for our forgetful human minds.
Now, think bigger about the thousands of sensors gathering data from your car’s systems, in the cabin, outside in the environment, and your city, and think about the new capabilities your car can switch-on. Sensors could limit distractions and distance for teen drivers, optimize a fleet to save fuel, or reduce driver fatigue. Manufacturers could flag and fix things before the check-engine light even turns on.

Introducing IVY

AWS and BlackBerry are introducing a platform dubbed IVY that’s capable of all of that, including the safe-pet application, which had been secretly known to the working team as “Hot Dog,” well, until Cooper, spilled the beans today. IVY is the result of a partnership between Cooper’s team of machine learning and cloud computing experts at AWS, and the BlackBerry QNX automotive team. At its most basic, IVY is in-vehicle software that allows automakers to safely access a vehicle’s sensor data, process that data with code—including machine learning to create new insights--and share those insights with developers through an API.
“Today, when you drive a new car off the lot you are essentially driving technical debt,” Cooper said. “Your car will never be better than when it was manufactured, but what if it could be? What if you could add features like in the software space? The car should be that kind of environment, and that is the aim of IVY.”
New upgrades and features for cars are only limited by the creativity of developers, and of course the need to hew to the laws of physics and safety regulations. “Right now, you customize your car by choosing the physical bits, does it have leather or not,” said Cooper . “With the car of the future, you’ll be able to pick the experiences you want, it will become your largest personal device.”
Plenty of dogs out there are wagging their tails right now.