GM is using Google’s AI chatbot to handle simple OnStar calls

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General Motors is using conversational AI chatbots to handle simple OnStar calls, freeing up the service’s human employees to address more complex requests, the company said Tuesday.

GM offered more details about its use of AI to coincide with Google’s Cloud Next conference. GM has been working hand in hand with the tech giant on a number of fronts, including Google’s built-in infotainment software and OnStar.

The automaker introduced its OnStar Interactive Virtual Assistant in 2022, which utilizes Google Cloud’s conversational AI technologies to provide responses to common inquiries, as well as routing and navigation assistance. And GM is already planning for future uses of AI in its vehicles.

GM offered more details about its use of AI to coincide with Google’s Cloud Next conference

“Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize the buying, ownership, and interaction experience inside the vehicle and beyond, enabling more opportunities to deliver new features and services,” said Mike Abbott, GM’s executive VP for software and services, in a statement.

GM has extended its collaboration with Google Cloud with the deployment of the tech company’s Dialogflow, which will allow OnStar’s virtual assistant to handle more than 1 million customer inquiries a month. The technology is now available in the US and Canada in most model year 2015 and new vehicles with OnStar.

AI is used to handle mostly simple requests, like turn-by-turn navigation. But the OnStar virtual assistant is trained to recognize certain words or phrases that might indicate an emergency and route the call to a trained specialist.

The shift to AI has decreased wait times and, according to GM’s market research, led to mostly positive reactions. The chatbot has also freed OnStar specialists “to spend more time with customers with requests that require a human touch,” GM said.

GM is no stranger to generative AI. The company said earlier this year it would use ChatGPT to help vehicle owners find information in their user handbook, program functions such as a garage door code, or integrate schedules from a calendar.

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