German automaker Mercedes-Benz made an announcement on Thursday, revealing its plans to incorporate OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot into its cars through a beta program for the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) feature. This integration will enable drivers to utilize AI-driven voice commands and enjoy additional functionality while on the road.
The beta program is set to commence on Friday, June 16, and will run for a duration of three months. To participate in the beta, drivers simply need to inquire about it directly from their car. However, it is important to note that the initiative will be limited to the United States market initially.
Mercedes-Benz explained that the introduction of the popular chatbot is made possible through the Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service, which was launched by the tech giant in March. While the inclusion of ChatGPT is a new addition, the MBUX voice assistant, along with its “Hey Mercedes” feature, was initially introduced in 2018 with the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
According to a sales representative at Mercedes-Benz of Carlsbad in California, “Voice commands for the AI are through the car, so you would be speaking to the car directly.” The voice assistant enables drivers to perform tasks such as adjusting the car’s temperature, playing music, or setting navigation. However, it is worth noting that these voice commands can only be executed within the car itself.
While the existing version of the “Hey Mercedes” feature can provide answers to questions, the integration of ChatGPT’s powerful language model aims to enhance the intuitiveness of the responses. Nevertheless, concerns regarding the safety and effectiveness of AI tools may arise among some Mercedes-Benz owners.
To address potential apprehensions, Mercedes-Benz emphasizes that data protection is of utmost importance. ChatGPT will operate within a controlled cloud environment, closely monitored by the automaker to identify any potential risks and continuously improve the system.
Markus Schäfer, Mercedes-Benz Group CTO, expressed his enthusiasm about the integration, stating, “The integration of ChatGPT with Microsoft in our controlled cloud environment is a milestone on our way to making our cars the center of our customers’ digital lives. Everything is under one big goal: Redefining the relationship with your Mercedes.”
Having a history of embracing technology testing in their vehicles, Mercedes-Benz previously collaborated with the UK-based blockchain startup Circulor in early 2020 to reduce CO2 emissions within their supply chain. This partnership demonstrates Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to exploring innovative solutions for a more sustainable future.