Data security and privacy remain major concerns as automakers move to embrace ChatGPT across the automotive value chain.
Generative AI-powered Large Language Models (LLM), most prominently ChatGPT, are disrupting the automotive industry. From logistics and fleet management to electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous vehicles, from manufacturing and retail to supply chain and in-vehicle features, from predictive navigation and personalized voice assistants to real-time traffic updates, ChatGPT is poised to transform the automotive ecosystem.
While the technology is still in the nascent stage, concerns have been voiced over the breakneck speed at which it is developing, with critics cautioning about weak safeguards vis a vis data security and privacy. Countries like Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, Syria, and Italy have banned ChatGPT. Nevertheless, there has been overwhelming interest in the transformative potential of this AI tool.
We are already seeing early applications of ChatGPT in the automotive arena in enhancing the in-vehicle experience. Other initial uses of ChatGPT will include the customer purchase journey, vehicle design research, production data insights, quality control, and marketing campaigns.
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Where will it be used?
We see four key areas where ChatGPT will have an immediate impact. To begin with, ChatGPT can improve supply chain management by facilitating supply chain optimization, inventory management, logistics management, and customer support. In terms of manufacturing, it can promote advances in production design, processes, and output as well as quality control. Automotive retail is poised to benefit from ChatGPT in the arena of sales, marketing, and aftermarket services. And lastly, the most visible and well-known impacts will be seen, felt and heard in in-vehicle experiences.
The integration of ChatGPT with in-vehicle voice assistants will make the engagement of vehicle occupants with their car, seamless, intuitive, simple, natural, and highly personalized. For instance, drivers will be able to “converse” with AI-driven in-vehicle voice assistants that will be able to provide information related not only to the vehicle but also on topics such as news, sports, weather, points of interest (POI), navigation, and infotainment.
In automotive manufacturing, ChatGPT will play a pivotal role in optimizing vehicle design, offering 24/7 support to production engineers as well as generating real-time insights into production and machinery operations, thereby allowing timely detection and resolution of bottlenecks and production breakdowns. The overall result will be improved product quality and output.
In automotive retail, ChatGPT capabilities will facilitate 24/7 customer service, rapid and relevant answering of queries, capturing of customer vehicle preferences, accurate detailing of vehicle models’ features, and scheduling of test drive appointments. As showrooms and dealerships turn increasingly phygital, ChatGPT will catalyze metaverse showrooms with virtual salespersons and immersive experiences.
Moreover, the integration ChatGPT into automotive technology products and platforms will boost effectiveness, including in dealer management systems, fleet management systems, battery management systems, production platforms, and car aggregator platforms, among others.
Who will use it?
At CES 2024, Volkswagen announced the integration of its in-vehicle voice assistant, IDA, with ChatGPT. Škoda Auto’s recently revealed the integration of ChatGPT with its Laura voice assistant. Mercedes-Benz will be leveraging ChatGPT-powered MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) system to facilitate control over various car functions using natural language voice commands. Similarly, BMW has incorporated ChatGPT into its iDrive system, in-car entertainment, and navigation systems. General Motors is also integrating ChatGPT to improve customers’ in-vehicle experience.
Generative AI LLMs such as ChatGPT will be extensively used in automotive retail in the immediate future. It will both rationalize business operations and streamline the customer car purchase journey. Fiat and Kia are looking at ChatGPT powered virtual sales agents for their metaverse showrooms.
In automotive manufacturing, Mercedes-Benz’s pilot program integrates ChatGPT into its intelligent vehicle production platform. With this, it aims to provide its engineers 24/7 support and track production data in real-time, thereby enabling strategic, real-time decision-making. Mercedes has been among the first OEMs to adopt ChatGPT for production, quality control, and in-vehicle experience.
Meanwhile, Israel-based Fullpath, is leveraging a ChatGPT-integrated dealer management system with enhanced customer engagement and sales support features. It thus enables simple and seamless 24/7 customer support, client interaction, and need-based recommendations.
What will the future hold?
Automotive applications of ChatGPT are evolving, with issues related to accuracy, bias, and data security requiring urgent attention. By 2025, we expect focus to shift from conceptualization to commercialization. By 2030, the technology is likely to be commonplace in manufacturing processes where it will positively impact design, production, and quality control, while providing impetus to smart manufacturing practices. In addition, it will find widespread use in R&D, sales, and marketing.
Over the near term, ChatGPT will transform in-vehicle experiences in terms of personalization, human machine interface (HMI), and navigation assistance. Over the longer term, AI and ChatGPT will be the fulcrum of an increasingly autonomous world. Specifically, in terms of mobility, it will constitute the core of autonomous vehicles.
Automotive OEMs should assess integrating ChatGPT-powered chatbots with their in-vehicle assistants. The ability to control functions using voice commands will enable easy, intuitive, and highly personalized interactions. Such efforts will have to be accompanied by cybersecurity initiatives that ensure data security and privacy.
With customer engagement poised to be massively disrupted by ChatGPT, automakers, dealerships, car aggregators, and dealer management system providers should incorporate ChatGPT into B2C platforms. This will result in 24/7 customer support, reduction of time consuming, repetitive manual tasks, and enhancement of the customer engagement experience.
Automakers can use ChatGPT in the design phase to distill customer feedback and create user-centric designs and features and in production processes to ensure smooth and efficient manufacturing. This will benefit OEMs’ business operations even as it bolsters customer satisfaction.
With inputs from Amrita Shetty, Senior Manager, Communications & Content – Mobility