Image credit: Daimler
You know that feeling when you just got a brand new car? You sit inside marveling at every little detail, maybe caress the steering wheel and breathe in that unique ‘new car smell’. But wait, how do you make it open the garage door? And what the heck does this button do?
In scenarios like these, your first line of action is to consult Google. Then, if you’re really desperate, you look it up in the car manual. It’s not a fun thing to do. Fortunately, Mercedes-Benz understands the frustration and turned to AI to make life easier for users behind the wheel.
The “Ask Mercedes” chatbot uses Natural Language Processing to pinpoint what a confused user is asking, then it may ask a few follow up questions to narrow it down before quickly guiding them using text, graphics, and media. Owners of the E- and S-Class have the added aid of augmented reality where they can use their smartphone camera to scan the car’s interior and have the app virtually point out what’s what.
The fun part is the bot isn’t limited to just explaining car functions. You can also get nosy with questions like, “who is the head of Mercedes?” and “what are these seats made from?”
This nifty “Ask Mercedes” app has been rolling out across their models since late 2017 and is currently being translated into more languages. Users can either download the “Ask Mercedes” app, connect with the chatbot on Facebook Messenger, or use Amazon Echo or Google Home.
According to the Daimler website, Britta Seeger, a member of their Board of Management says of the app, "We are creating a personalized customer experience that goes well beyond the vehicle. With innovative services such as 'Ask Mercedes', we are further expanding our digital ecosystem."
Meet the people behind Mercedes-Benz’s voice assistants
Sounds like Mercedes-Benz is getting serious about voice technology. In case you haven’t already heard, the largest voice tech event of 2018 is coming up this July and Mercedes-Benz will be there. Specifically Robert Bruchhardt, a Senior Software Engineer at the luxury automobile company who works on integrating voice assistants with their car interfaces.
He’ll be a speaker at the event so if you’re feeling those I-heart-cars-and-voice-tech vibes, you’ll definitely want to hear what he has to say. Get your full-access pass here (or single day pass, if you must).