Mercedes-Benz says it is further expanding the use of artificial intelligence and integrating it into the voice control of its vehicles. By adding ChatGPT, voice control via the MBUX Voice Assistant’s Hey Mercedes will become even more intuitive, the company claims.

An optional beta programme will start June 16, 2023 in the US for over 900,000 vehicles equipped with the MBUX infotainment system.

Customers can participate via the Mercedes me app or directly from the vehicle using the voice command “Hey Mercedes, I want to join the beta programme”. The rollout of the beta programme will happen over the air (OTA).

Mercedes-Benz is integrating ChatGPT through Azure OpenAI Service, ‘leveraging the enterprise-grade capabilities of Microsoft’s cloud and AI platform’.

Addition for voice control via Hey Mercedes

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By GlobalData

Mercedes-Benz says MBUX Voice Assistant has set industry standards and is ‘known for its intuitive operation and a large command portfolio’. It says driver and passengers can receive sports and weather updates, have questions answered about their surroundings or even control their smart homes.

ChatGPT complements the existing intuitive voice control via Hey Mercedes. While most voice assistants are limited to predefined tasks and responses, the company says ChatGPT ‘leverages a large language model to greatly improve natural language understanding and expand the topics to which it can respond’.

Mercedes-Benz, the company claims, combines the best of both worlds, enhancing the validated data of MBUX Voice Assistant with the more natural dialogue format of ChatGPT.

Users ‘will experience a voice assistant that not only accepts natural voice commands but can also conduct conversations’.

Soon, Mercedes says, participants who ask the Voice Assistant for details about their destination, to suggest a new dinner recipe, or to answer a complex question, will receive a more comprehensive answer – while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Mercedes-Benz ‘ensures data privacy’

A collaboration with Microsoft enables the integration of ChatGPT. Through Azure OpenAI Service, Mercedes‑Benz is tapping OpenAI’s large-scale generative AI models combined with the enterprise-grade security, privacy and reliability capabilities of Azure. Mercedes-Benz retains complete control over the IT processes in the background, the company stresses. The voice command data collected is stored in the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Cloud, ‘where it is anonymised and analysed’.

Data protection is a top priority for Mercedes-Benz, it says. Customers know at all times what information is collected and for what purpose, and they are free to make their own decisions. Mercedes-Benz protects all customer data from manipulation and misuse.

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, Development & Procurement, said: “The integration of ChatGPT with Microsoft in our controlled cloud environment is a milestone on our way to making our cars the centre of our customers’ digital lives.

“Our beta programme 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.”

The US-focused beta programme is expected to last three months. In return, Mercedes-Benz developers will gain helpful insights into specific requests, enabling them to set precise priorities in the further development of voice control. Findings from the beta programme will be used to further improve the intuitive voice assistant and to define the rollout strategy for large language models in more markets and languages.

ChatGPT ‘in line with Mercedes-Benz AI principles’

GPT stands for “Generative Pre-trained Transformer”, a family of large language models that have been trained to create or summarize texts, answer questions, translate languages and even generate programming code. ChatGPT is ‘built on a sophisticated neural network developed by the company OpenAI’.

Mercedes-Benz says it is taking an approach to the integration of ChatGPT that aligns with the company’s AI principles to make the benefits of innovative AI solutions accessible to customers. Mercedes-Benz keeps a close eye on potential risks and the system will be continuously improved for the benefit of all customers. A responsible approach to generative AI solutions is ‘top priority at Mercedes-Benz.