TechSpot means tech analysis and advice you can trust. Read our ethics statement.
Forward-looking: The ability to receive assistance from a talking car has been a popular fantasy since Knight Rider aired on TV. Modern artificial intelligence models like OpenAI might bring car manufacturers and tech companies closer than ever to that dream.
General Motors recently said that it's developing an in-car AI assistant based on Microsoft's Azure cloud service and OpenAI, according to Semafor. The company compares its goal to generative AI like ChatGPT and Bing AI but stresses that its model will work differently.
The company wants to provide an assistant that can give drivers critical information about their vehicles in a conversational manner, pushing beyond existing simple in-car voice commands. Similar to how ChatGPT and Bing Chat pull information from the internet, GM's assistant could grab information from a vehicle's instruction manual to save drivers the trouble of flipping through it.
If a user asks GM's assistant how to change a flat tire, it could display an instructional video on the process. If a maintenance light appears, the assistant could tell drivers its meaning and urgency. Users could also ask the assistant to automatically program a garage door code. Theoretically, it could automatically arrange repair or inspection appointments while scheduling them on a calendar.
ChatGPT and Bing Chat have become controversial for their often untrue and sometimes bizarre responses to user queries. GM wants to avoid this problem by developing a different software layer on top of OpenAI's models, optimized specifically for the automotive experience. However, GM wouldn't elaborate on the models it's using and doesn't yet have a name for its assistant.
The endeavor is mainly possible due to the company's partnership with Microsoft, which it started for developing self-driving vehicles. GM didn't mention whether an AI assistant could integrate with self-driving functionality.
Along with other auto manufacturers, GM could be in a race to develop OpenAI-powered in-car assistants before Apple and Google deliver them onto users' smartphones.
Google is currently using OpenAI's model to enhance its search engine. Theoretically, it could apply that work toward an AI assistant for Android and Android Auto. Were Apple to integrate the technology with Siri, it could bring assistant functionality to CarPlay, or the Apple Car if it ever comes to fruition.