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CES 2024: NFTs and ‘Emotional’ AI in Mercedes-Benz Cars

Revolutionizing Automotive Luxury: Mercedes-Benz Unveils NFTs and Emotional AI Features at CES 2024

German automaker Mercedes-Benz showcased its latest technological advancements at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2024) in Las Vegas. The focal point of their presentation was the upgraded MBUX Virtual Assistant, which integrates an NFT gallery and an innovative AI voice assistant featuring “emotional profiles.”

Next-Gen MBUX Virtual Assistant: A Human-Like Interface

Powered by generative AI and running on the internally developed Mercedez-Benz Operating System (MB.OS), the MBUX Virtual Assistant is hailed as the “most human-like interface with a Mercedes-Benz yet.” Markus Schäfer, Chief Technology Officer at Mercedes-Benz, explained that the assistant can operate in four distinct “emotional profiles” – natural, predictive, personal, and empathetic. This customization allows the assistant to engage with the driver more personalized and responsively.

Schäfer emphasized the role of artificial intelligence in creating a future where Mercedes-Benz vehicles profoundly understand their drivers. The MBUX Assistant learns and adapts to driver preferences, such as automatically selecting preferred radio stations or adjusting seat settings for a more comfortable driving experience.

Integration of OpenAI’s ChatGPT: A Versatile Approach

In a move announced in June 2023, the Mercedes-Benz car revealed the integration of OpenAI’s ChatGPT into its Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) voice assistant. However, Schäfer clarified that the final product may not be limited to ChatGPT, indicating the possibility of exploring alternative language models based on customer needs. The goal is to enhance localization in different regions, ensuring a tailored experience for users worldwide

Driver-Centric Approach and Opt-Out Option

Mercedes-Benz assures drivers that participation in the virtual assistant program is voluntary, and the system only learns from individual cars. Privacy-conscious drivers can opt out of the program, with Schäfer underscoring that data will not be shared across drivers, addressing potential concerns about data security.

Launch and Beyond: 2025 and Upgraded Entertainment Systems

The updated MBUX Virtual Assistant is scheduled for an early 2025 release, promising an enhanced driving experience. Mercedes-Benz is not only focusing on AI but also revamping its navigation and in-car entertainment (ICE) systems. The ICE system will feature MBUX Sound Drive, a music experience developed by recording artist Will.i.am, designed to dynamically respond to the vehicle’s driving conditions.

Blockchain Integration for NFTs and Environmental Responsibility

Mercedes-Benz is embracing blockchain beyond entertainment, as demonstrated by the MBUX Collectibles in-car app. This app allows drivers to showcase their non-fungible token (NFT) collections on the vehicle’s dashboard, including the brand’s own NXT NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. The company’s commitment to blockchain extends beyond novelty, with past initiatives, like tracking CO2 emissions in the cobalt supply chain using blockchain technology in collaboration with traceability start-up Circular.

In essence, Mercedes-Benz is not only envisioning a technologically advanced and emotionally intelligent driving experience but also leveraging innovations such as NFTs and blockchain for entertainment and sustainability.