Today, Mercedes-Benz shared details of its expansion of AI functions to bolster its MBUX user experience, particularly its “Hey Mercedes” voice assistance technology which has now been integrated with renowned chatbot ChatGPT. On a recent visit to the automaker’s International Design Center, we got the chance to test out ChatGPT first hand in a Mercedes EV. Get ready for some really bad jokes.
If you haven’t heard of ChatGPT, you must still have a flip phone and print out directions on MapQuest, but good for you! The AI chatbot stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer and is based on large language models developed by its creators, OpenAI.
The chatbot debuted last fall and has quickly skyrocketed to the fastest-growing consumer software application in history, helping high school students forge essays on Orwellian dystopias and websites like Buzzfeed alleviate the need for humans to write its enthralling quizzes like “Which McDonalds dipping sauce are you?”
Long before ChatGPT, Mercedes-Benz had developed AI of its own implemented in its MBUX infotainment system. The voice assistant, activated by saying “Hey Mercedes,” has been a feature we have tested numerous times in our drives of the brand’s growing lineup of EVs.
During a trip to Carlsbad, California this week to learn about Mercedes’ latest design strategy and see the debut of the Vision One Eleven concept, we were able to step outside for a breather between presentations, hop inside an EQE SUVand mess with ChatGPT ourselves.
The automaker has successfully integrated the large language model into “Hey Mercedes,” and it is taking points of interest and other voice commands to the next level. Watch here as we ask ChatGPT for the best beaches nearby to go for a swim. Notice how the AI suggest other activities outside of the water.
Mercedes’ ChatGPT function helpful and full of Dad jokes
Mercedes-Benz shared details of its integration of ChatGPT AI into its voice control as an over-the-air (OTA) beta program to start. Beginning tomorrow, over 900,000 Mercedes vehicles with MBUX infotainment in the US will be able to opt into the ChatGPT beta program and help test it out for the next three months.
Mercedes explained that the integration of ChatGPT uses its leading AI to enhance the validated data of MBUX’s voice assistant with the more natural dialogue that can also conduct conversations. Mercedes says that eventually, EV drivers will be able to ask their voice assistant for details about their destination, request a dinner recipe, or ask other questions and receive a quick and realistic answer.
Mercedes-Benz is assuring its vehicle owners that it will retain complete control over the IT processes in the background. All voice command data collected is stored in the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Cloud, where it is anonymized and analyzed. Mercedes CTO Markus Schäfer spoke to the AI’s potential and the automaker’s promise of retaining customer data privacy:
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. Our beta program boosts the existing Hey Mercedes functions such as navigation queries, weather requests and others with the capabilities of ChatGPT. This way, we aim to support conversations with natural dialogues and follow-up questions. Our customers can always rely on us to ensure the best possible protection of their data privacy. Everything is under one big goal: Redefining the relationship with your Mercedes.
Current Mercedes owners can join the ChatGPT beta program via the automaker’s me app or directly from their car by saying, “Hey Mercedes, I want to join the beta program.” In speaking with the team, the goal is to use the data gathered from the three month beta test to bolster the MBUX AI and make it more conversational. The current iteration still sounds quite robotic, but the technology is already showing promise, except when it comes to standup comedy.
Listen to these sad attempts at shark jokes from ChatGPT:
Mercedes-Benz owners will be able to opt into the ChatGPT beta program beginning June 16.
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