There are all sorts of voice-activated artificial intelligence bots out there now. Whether it’s Alexa, Siri, Google, Bixby, or Cortana it seems like every company is doing its own thing. Mercedes is the latest to enter the fray with a virtual assistant for your car known as Ask Mercedes.
Never mind the very German lack of creativity in naming the function, Mercedes' new service makes use of artificial intelligence for its chatbot which includes a few augmented reality functions. Users can type questions into their smartphones or ask them utilizing the voice recognition software.
If you happen to be in a new E-class or S-class, the controls and displays can be scanned with your smartphone camera, then they are explained to the driver once the software visually identifies what the driver took a picture of. Aim your smartphone at the dashboard, steering wheel or center console and numbers will be automatically superimposed onto the controls and displays are shown on your camera image. Then the user can tap the number to see more detailed information.
You can think of it as a living and breathing owner’s manual. Customers can use the Ask Mercedes app to get real-time answers to questions about their vehicle. Can’t figure out what side the gas cap is on? Don’t know where the lever is to pop the hood? Looking for the ashtray? The Ask Mercedes app will save you from furiously fumbling through the cabin to pop the glovebox and thumb through the manual.
Speaking on the new technology Britta Seeger, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales said, "We are creating a personalized customer experience that goes well beyond the vehicle. With innovative services such as Ask Mercedes, we are further expanding our digital ecosystem.”
The app was initially launched in South Africa, Malaysia, and the U.S. Beginning at the start of 2018 it will roll out in India and Hong Kong with a German version coming later in the year.