General Motors and Google Cloud together on Aug. 29 shared new details on how the two companies collaborated to bring conversational artificial intelligence (AI) technology into millions of GM vehicles.
The two companies began this journey together in 2019 when GM named its first vehicles with Google built-in.
Since then, the number of Google-paired GM vehicles has grown, giving customers easy access to Google Assistant, Maps, and Play directly from their vehicles’ center displays. That collaboration soon expanded to the deployment of Google Cloud’s conversational AI technology, Dialogflow.
Future Generative AI Deployments?
Since its launch in 2022, GM’s OnStar Interactive Virtual Assistant (IVA), has been powered by intent-recognition algorithms that use Google Cloud’s conversational AI technologies, providing OnStar members with responses to common inquiries, as well as routing and navigation assistance.
The successful deployment of the AI in GM’s OnStar service has now opened the door to future generative AI deployments.
“Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize the buying, ownership, and interaction experience inside the vehicle and beyond, enabling more opportunities to deliver new features and services,” said Mike Abbott executive vice president of Software and Services at GM, in a recent news release. “Our software-led approach has accelerated the creation of compelling services for our customers while driving increased efficiency across the GM enterprise.”
With this technology, GM’s virtual assistant is now handling more than 1 million customer inquiries a month in the U.S. and Canada and is available in most model year 2015 and newer GM vehicles connected by OnStar.
“General Motors is at the forefront of deploying AI in practical and effective ways that ultimately create better customer experiences,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud. “We’re looking forward to a deepened relationship and more collaboration with GM as we explore how the company uses generative AI in transformational ways.”
GM’s OnStar Interactive Virtual Assistant
GM’s OnStar Interactive Virtual Assistant (IVA), which launched in 2022, uses advanced AI-based, intent recognition technologies powered by the Dialogflow technology to provide OnStar members with routing and navigation assistance, including turn-by-turn directions.
The IVA assists with common inquiries initiated by the non‑emergency OnStar blue button push in GM vehicles, but also endeavors to distinguish phrases and words that may signify an emergency situation and help to quickly route the call to OnStar’s specially trained emergency advisors.
OnStar has been better able to understand a customer’s question or request the first time it is spoken, providing a response with a natural-sounding voice. Customers hear the same familiar OnStar “voice” whether they are sitting in their vehicle or calling on the phone and have reacted positively to experiences on calls without hold times.
GM is leveraging Google Cloud’s Dialogflow technology to deploy chatbots that can conversationally help answer customer questions about GM vehicles and product features based on the technical information from GM’s vehicle data repositories.
"I believe GM took the right step by pairing up with Google, and, yes, this trend can continue but the biggest obstacle will be ensuring that it is an open system,” said Brian Bathe, vice president of Information Technology at Mike Albert Fleet Solutions.
With this technology, customers can get quick answers to questions like, “Tell me more about GM’s 2024 EV lineup,” or learn how to take advantage of new technology features in their vehicle.
“There is no limit if GM/Google allows others to integrate with and publish proprietary content on the platform,” said Bathe. “That service tech could now leverage vast knowledge to solve even the most esoteric problems. They could efficiently order parts for the job, schedule specialized equipment, and initiate the scheduling for the follow-up.”