Voice Activation

Mercedes Develops In-Car Alexa Competitor  

Mercedes-Benz Expands Luxury Vehicle Subscription Service

Amazon isn’t the only one with a voice-activated assistant. Daimler is rolling out its own with its new Mercedes A-Class, unveiled late last week.

Reuters reported the German car maker’s A-Class lineup will include the MBUX dashboard system, which uses machine learning and voice recognition technology to understand and process voice commands for navigation as well as infotainment. The system relies on artificial intelligence to anticipate commands based on drivers’ previous habits.

In an effort to keep Silicon Valley from taking the lead, car companies have been racing against tech companies to roll out in-car technology. In addition to controlling voice and advancing infotainment, car manufacturers are also developing self-driving vehicles.

This is Daimler’s boldest tech move so far. According to the Reuters report, Daimler warned last week that this year’s profit growth would be impaired by the investments in technology.

Instead of starting conversations with Alexa or Siri, drivers will say “Hey Mercedes” upon entering the car.

“We’ve tested it already,” Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said at the Amsterdam launch, dispelling the idea that this launch could be a test to see if customers would want a voice-activated assistant built into the car. “We don’t test on our customers.”

Daimler wouldn’t say if the starting price of the A-Class will increase when the new one is rolled out.

While Daimler is developing its own infotainment system, tech giants like Apple are moving further into the market. According to Reuters, Apple’s CarPlay is now found in more than 200 cars, while Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated assistant, is in vehicles from Ford and Toyota.

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With an estimated 64 million connected cars on the road by year’s end, QSRs are scrambling to win consumer drive-time dollars via in-dash ordering capabilities, while automakers like Tesla are developing new retail-centric charging stations. The PYMNTS Commerce Connected Playbook explores how the connected car is putting $230 billion worth of connected car spend into overdrive.

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