Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft Partner on Integrating ChatGPT into Vehicles

By Alex Passett July 11, 2023

Luxury and commercial vehicle brand Mercedes has taken a huge AI-powered step up onto a new level of built-in voice control capabilities by integrating ChatGPT.

Recently, having partnered with Microsoft, the new “Hey Mercedes” (technically called the MBUX Voice Assistant, but Hey Mercedes has a much better ring to it) has already been made available in more than 900,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles as part of a deep AI-centric push towards upgraded infotainment in vehicles. This was made possible by integrating ChatGPT through Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service.

As the first automaker to introduce ChatGPT (although various Mercedes competitors have stated that they’re exploring AI usage in their own vehicles), Mercedes has made it super easy. To opt in and try it out:

  1. Customers can simply use the “Mercedes me connect” app.
  2. While inside the vehicle (i.e. this step forgoes the app), customers can use voice command to say “Hey Mercedes, I would like to join the beta program.”

That’s all there is to it.

Per Markus Schäfer, Mercedes’ Chief Technology Officer: “Users will experience a voice assistant that accepts natural voice commands and also conducts full conversations. Soon, participants who ask our Hey Mercedes for details about their destinations, to suggest a new dinner recipe, or to answer a complex question, will all receive a more comprehensive answer – while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”

Scheduled to span over three months, this test period is a solid gauge for Mercedes to gather crucial data and flex new AI possibilities, as well. But that’s not without caution.

“Our beta program boosts the existing Hey Mercedes functions such as navigation queries, weather requests and others with the capabilities of ChatGPT,” Schäfer said. “Like everything in our command portfolio, this has been devised with care. Mercedes-Benz is taking a ChatGPT approach that aligns with the company's AI principles to make the benefits of innovative AI solutions accessible and safe for customers. We keep a close eye on potential risks, and the system will be continuously improved for the benefit of every customer. A responsible attitude to generative AI solutions is very important to Mercedes-Benz.”

Additionally (caution-wise), all Hey Mercedes data will be stored in the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Cloud, where it can be anonymized before insight analyzation.

“Driver safety and data protection are always our top priority,” Schäfer said in closing. “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. Through Hey Mercedes, we can support conversations with natural dialogues and follow-up questions. And through every conversation we have, everything becomes about a single goal: Redefining the relationship with your Mercedes.”

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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