By Tyler Durden
Mercedes-Benz rolled out a new beta program for over 900,000 US vehicles equipped with the MBUX infotainment system. Drivers can activate the new voice assistant that integrates Microsoft’s “generative artificial intelligence” on Friday.
By adding ChatGPT, voice control via the “Hey Mercedes” MBUX Voice Assistant will be like talking to a chatbot. Some of those conversations include asking “for details about their destination, to suggest a new dinner recipe, or to answer a complex question” — all “while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”
The rollout of the beta program will happen over the air on Friday. It’s as simple as saying, “Hey Mercedes, I want to join the beta program.”
We’re surprised other automotive manufacturers like Tesla didn’t first integrate AI language models that power systems like ChatGPT into its voice assistant software. The Mercedes update indicates vehicles are getting more intelligent and will be able to hold conversations with their drivers. There’s a clear benefit to this technology: keep the driver’s eyes on the road instead of fumbling through a smartphone. (Although some negatives as well, like more pervasive surveillance and potential behavior-related profiling – Ed.)
The Verge noted the update would be free of charge and comes at a time when automakers have been finding new ways to make money via in-car subscriptions, such as charging for heated seats and accelerator mode.