Virtual assistants are popping up everywhere nowadays and are slowly making their way into the auto industry. Mercedes-Benz recently announced the launch of its ‘Ask Mercedes’; a virtual assistant using artificial intelligence that combines augmented reality and chatbot to answer questions via voice or typed content into a smartphone/device, in real time, to help drivers understand their car’s system. The system will be added to replacement and new models as they are created.
Britta Seeger, Mercedes-Benz spokesperson chimed in the virtual assistant feature stating that the company has developed a driver experience that goes beyond just an automobile. She added that Ask Mercedes is an innovative service that further adds to the manufacturer’s digital ecosystem.
The app is free and will have photograph abilities on the instrument panel, with a computer-generated display return overlay of controlled infographics regarding the image used. When it comes to questions, YouTube videos will be integrated so that drivers can see how things work via the video and receive instructions.
MSN reported that Mercedes will also have the ability to be used when drivers are away from their car; where questions can be asked by voice activation or typing. It will be able to work over Facebook Messenger, Google Home, or Amazon Echo.
Via chatbot, the virtual assistant will understand questions asked in natural language, posed in differing ways. It will also be able to answer questions about places, things, people, and even the weather. Developers of the app travelled the world, asking questions to clients and other parties interested, creating responses in a variety of ways as it relates to queries around auto operation.
The system will be released in English only within Malaysia and South Africa initially and North America will receive a simpler system (minus the augmented reality aspect). Hong Kong and India will receive Ask Mercedes come early next year, with a German version hitting the market later in 2018.