Mercedes adds ChatGPT to its cars to make them chattier

Mercedes-Benz console showing a touchscreen display with GPS

In the latest installment of ChatGPT-ifying everything, Mercedes-Benz is taking the AI chatbot for a spin.

Starting Friday, Mercedes drivers can participate in a beta program that uses ChatGPT in the luxury car company's voice control system, MBUX. ChatGPT's natural language understanding will expand the voice assistant's range of topics it can respond to, and means drivers can have back-and-forth conversations with the chatbot.

"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," said the announcement.

Getting travel information or making dinner plans en route may be what Mercedes-Benz has in mind for the beta program, but we're already wondering if drivers will start using ChatGPT as a travel buddy to pass the time during long lonely drives. Either way, adding ChatGPT to the luxury vehicles definitely falls in the category of superfluous new toys for rich people. Put another way, the new feature is part of the company's overarching goal of "making our cars the centre of our customers’ digital lives," said Markus Schafer, CTO and board member in the announcement.

To participate in the three-month beta program, customers can sign up through the Mercedes app or say "Hey Mercedes, I want to join the beta program." The feature is powered by Microsoft's cloud platform Azure, which is partnered with OpenAI. That said, Mercedes-Benz retains the customer data which is anonymized and analyzed by the company for insights and future development of the program.

So, keep that in mind when talking to ChatGPT in that meditative, stream-of-consciousness way that driving often inspires. Maybe don't veer off course too much.

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