June 16 (CNN) — Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft have agreed to add ChatGPT to Mercedes-Benz cars in the United States. ChatGPT is Microsoft’s “generative artificial intelligence” software that can engage in realistically human-like dialog.
Mercedes vehicles already have voice-command capabilities allowing drivers to use the phrase, “Hey, Mercedes,” followed by a short command to do things like adjust the temperature in the vehicle, find a navigation destination or place a phone call. ChatGPT would make these voice commands more fluid and natural and could enable additional functions, according to Microsoft.
Instead of just responding to simple commands, the system could engage in more natural-seeming conversation. The system will be able to remember the context of what is being discussed and engage in back-and-forth dialog with the driver or vehicle occupants. With ChatGPT, the system will be able to respond to a wider range of requests, including ones that might not be related to the car or driver. Drivers might ask for a quick recipe, for instance, or what’s the best time of the year for a trip to Colorado?
The ChatGPT system can also interact with other applications to handle things like making restaurant reservations or purchase movie tickets, according to Microsoft.
Mercedes owners in the United States with the MBUX “infortainment” system will be able to beta test the ChatGPT system starting on June 16 by using the voice command “Hey Mercedes, I want to join the beta program.”
On the Internet, ChatGPT has been used to do things like research and write essays, pick stocks and, sometimes, provide unhelpful responses to people in crisis.
Over the past decade or so, automakers, including Mercedes, have created increasingly sophisticated voice command systems for their vehicles. They’re touted as safer for drivers to use than buttons or touchscreens because drivers don’t have to look away from the road to use them. Some research has shown that the mental processing required to use voice commands is still distracting, though.