GM uses Google’s AI chatbot to handle simple OnStar calls

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

GM offered more details on using AI on the occasion of Google’s Cloud Next conference. GM has worked closely with the tech giant on a number of fronts, including built-in infotainment software from Google and OnStar.

The automaker introduced its OnStar Interactive Virtual Assistant in 2022, which uses Google Cloud’s conversational AI technologies to provide answers to frequently asked questions, as well as route and navigation assistance. And GM is already planning for future use of AI in its vehicles.

GM offered more details on using AI on the occasion of Google’s Cloud Next conference

“Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize the buying, owning and interacting experience in the vehicle and beyond, opening up more opportunities to deliver new features and services,” said Mike Abbott , GM’s executive VP of software and services, in a statement.

GM has expanded its partnership with Google Cloud with the deployment of the technology company’s Dialogflow, enabling OnStar’s virtual assistant to handle more than 1 million customer queries per month. The technology is now available in the US and Canada in most 2015 model year and new OnStar vehicles.

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

The shift to AI has reduced wait times and, according to GM’s market research, has generated a mostly positive response. The chatbot has also given OnStar specialists the freedom “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 owner’s manual, program functions such as a garage door code or integrate schedules from a calendar.

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