Mercedes drivers can soon turn to ChatGPT for voice control

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(Reuters) - ChatGPT will soon hit the road.

Mercedes-Benz on Thursday said U.S. drivers could power some of their luxury vehicles with ChatGPT in a test program starting June 16.

Compatible with some 900,000 vehicles that have the automaker's "MBUX" systems, ChatGPT will download over the air after drivers opt in via a Mercedes app or by voice command, the company said. The test will last three months during which Mercedes will see how drivers use the technology.

Mercedes said ChatGPT would make its car system's answers sound more natural and would let drivers ask for destination information or address other queries, like what to cook for dinner.

The automaker had previously let drivers and passengers issue a range of requests by voice, such as turning on seat heaters.

The ChatGPT deal spells business for Microsoft, which is providing a version of the popular chatbot through its cloud.

Rival has long worked to install its voice aide Alexa in more cars, and now Microsoft has an answer through its investment in ChatGPT's creator, OpenAI.

In a press release, the German automaker said drivers not only will be able to utter commands via the phrase "Hey Mercedes," but they would also be able to hold conversations with their cars.

In a separate blog post, Microsoft said ongoing integrations known as plug-ins one day could let drivers make restaurant reservations, book movie tickets and carry out other tasks from behind the wheel.

Findings from the test program will inform Mercedes' plans for adding such artificial intelligence to other countries and in other languages, the company said. Voice data is stored, anonymized and analyzed in the Mercedes cloud, it added.

Rival General Motors said in March it was exploring uses for ChatGPT in vehicles as part of its broader collaboration with Microsoft.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in Palo Alto, California and Samrhitha Arunasalam in Bengaluru; Editing by Jamie Freed)

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