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adesso brings Ask Mercedes chatbot platform to life

The IT service provider adesso has developed a chatbot platform for Mercedes-Benz drivers. Known as Ask Mercedes, the innovation provides intelligent content about vehicles. The service is scheduled to be available in German from summer 2018.

Ask Mercedes is the name of the first digital, interactive assistant for Mercedes drivers who want to find out more about their new vehicles and how they work. Instead of leafing through the manual to search for keywords, drivers can use a smartphone app to communicate with the chatbot and ask it questions about their cars, such as “What’s that button on the centre console?”, “How can I connect my mobile phone with the vehicle?” or “What does Sport+ mean?” “Mercedes”, which has been configured as a female chatbot character, can answer and provide support on all of these questions.

The app "Ask Mercedes" explains cockpit functions and controls to the driver (Copyright: Daimler AG).

The new service uses artificial intelligence (AI) and combines a speech-based dialogue system with augmented reality functions. Drivers can ask the chatbot questions using voice control or by entering them into their smartphones’ screens. They can also explore the interior using their smartphone camera by scanning the lens over parts of the car to receive computer-generated explanations regarding their vehicles’ features, operation and functions right in the picture, along with multimedia content such as text, images, videos and links to websites and YouTube videos.

“Ask Mercedes allows us to support a digital, personalised customer experience. An intelligent, voice-controlled assistant is an ideal and easy way to provide drivers with the information they need to operate their vehicles,” says Andreas Prenneis, the Executive Board member responsible for the automotive industry at adesso.

Clients in business and administration see adesso’s independent, product-neutral advice as a plus. Executive Board member Prenneis adds: “We based the latest digitalisation project for Mercedes-Benz on IBM’s Watson AI technology. But the setting would still be fundamentally possible with other vendors and technologies.”

adesso has demonstrated manufacturer independence in this project through the flexible construction of its chatbot, which is designed for seamless integration and interaction with the ecosystem of existing players such as Facebook Messenger, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home.

Dialogue technology is currently at the heart of Daimler’s customer communication focus in a variety of settings. In addition to the Ask Mercedes project, adesso has received orders for four further chatbot projects, all of which use virtual assistants to support communication and interaction with customers at points of contact such as the 24-hour call centre, online support, customer events and trade fairs like the IAA.

The Ask Mercedes chatbot app has been available in English in the Indian, Malaysian and South African markets since the end of 2017. A localised version is available in the US. Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong followed in mid-April 2018. Launches in additional markets are scheduled for the months ahead.

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