After our full discussion about the GAFAM and other possible frailties, as they headed in 2023, I predicted a few things. One of them was that Microsoft would be uniquely able to leverage AI quicker and with more acumen than Google, Meta, Amazon, or Apple.

Even if everyone is touting AI projects or playing it cool by explaining that they were all in ten years ago, Microsoft does move in forward quite aggressively and already ships various AI-embedded solutions.

Mercedes, for instance, has started beta-testing ChaGPT through Microsoft Azure on their lineup.

Mercedes-Benz enhances drivers’ experience with Azure OpenAI Service
Mercedes-Benz announced they are integrating ChatGPT via Azure OpenAI Service to transform the in-car experience for drivers. Starting June 16, drivers in the U.S. can opt into a beta program that makes the MBUX Voice Assistant’s “Hey Mercedes” feature even more intuitive and conversational

The test includes various features that will remind you how dumb Alexa or Siri currently are:

  • Enhanced voice command and interaction: dynamic conversations, giving customers a voice assistant that not only understands commands but also engages in interactive dialogues.
  • Expanded capabilities: comprehensive responses, giving users information about destinations, recipes, and complex questions, allowing drivers to stay focused on driving.
  • Contextual understanding: handling follow-up questions and maintaining context, enabling drivers to ask complex queries and engage in multi-turn conversations, and receive detailed and relevant responses.
  • Third-party integration: Mercedes-Benz is exploring the ChatGPT plugin ecosystem to integrate with various third-party services. This opens up possibilities for tasks like restaurant reservations and movie ticket bookings using natural speech commands, enhancing convenience and productivity while driving.

I'm not going to report on every new case of Microsoft Azure opening the door to ChatGPT, but the car industry is certainly a perfect target as it's still struggling to reinvent itself and find ways to rejuvenate its offers.

Case and point:

For those who find electric cars a bit boring, Toyota engineers are working on a realistic-feeling fake manual transmission as a possible feature. (...) To be clear, a manual transmission on an electric car would serve absolutely no purpose. It would be just for fun, an add-on for people who like shifting gears in their gasoline-powered cars.Drivers will even be able to “downshift,” a process also known as engine braking. That’s when the driver selects a lower gear and releases the clutch pedal without pressing the gas pedal at all. Then, the friction of the unpowered engine slows the car without the driver having to use the brakes. Toyota’s virtual manual transmission includes programming that will allow drivers to realistically experience using it badly, up to a point. If the driver doesn’t “give it enough gas” or selects the wrong gear the car will shake and buck, just like a gas-powered manual transmission car would. The car’s computer will limit how far the shaking will go to avoid stress on the battery. - CNN, June 18, 2023

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