The result is a virtual assistant chat bot that can understand, process and respond to natural language on a host of car-related topics from explaining exactly how different ride settings in the new S Class work to confirming who currently runs Daimler-Benz.
“We are creating a personalised customer experience that goes well beyond the vehicle. With innovative services such as ‘Ask Mercedes’, we are further expanding our digital ecosystem,” said Britta Seeger, global head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales.
As part of the app’s development process, the company spent a considerable amount of time interviewing Mercedes owners from around the world to understand if they would be interested in the service, but more importantly, how they would use it and the types of questions they would be likely to pose.
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This enabled the developers to not only create multimedia content for the app, but to be able to stratify it so that it doesn’t patronise those with a broad general knowledge about cars nor alienate those that need a more in-depth explanation of a function or feature.
But as well as answering questions, the app can give tips, such as on how to drive more economically and; can provide visual cues. Activating the smartphone’s camera and holding it over a specific control or button in a Mercedes E-Class or S-Class will result in an augmented reality view on the screen, overlaying information as to what individual knobs and buttons can do.
Alongside the Ask Mercedes App, which will be going live at the end of the year in South Africa and Malaysia, before extending to other territories and in different languages in early 2018, Mercedes is also working on adding more features to its existing Mercedes Me App suite of connected services.
One of the most interesting is a new app controlled feature that can monitor a car’s external sensors and can alert the owner if someone is trying to break into it or if it has been struck, accidentally or otherwise by another road user.