It happens thousands of times every day across America, a person driving a GM product calls OnStar with a simple question. Perhaps, the driver of a 2023 Chevrolet Silverado needs help with navigation or finding the closest gas station. There is a good chance that in the future, the helpful voice answering the OnStar call will be artificial intelligence or AI. General Motors and Google Cloud are working together to bring conversational AI technology into millions of GM vehicles.
The General Motors and Google Partnership
General Motors and Google started working together on this in 2022. Since then, GM’s OnStar Interactive Virtual Assistant (IVA), has been powered by algorithms that use Google Cloud’s conversational AI technologies. Artificial Intelligence already provides OnStar members with responses to common inquiries, as well as routing and navigation assistance. The partnership has worked so well that now the two companies are investigating how to expand the use of AI.
“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, Software and Services, GM. “Our software-led approach has accelerated the creation of compelling services for our customers while driving increased efficiency across the GM enterprise. The work with Google Cloud is another example of our efforts to transform how customers engage with our products and services.”
Partnership Builds on the Google Built-Ins in GM Vehicles
GM has been working with Google Cloud since back in 2019 when GM named its first vehicles with Google built-in. Since then, the number of GM vehicles with Google built-in has grown, giving customers easy access to Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play, directly from their vehicles’ center displays. GM’s use of Google’s AI is a logical step. With Google’s technology, GM’s OnStar 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 (IVA), which launched in 2022, provides OnStar Members with routing and navigation assistance, including turn-by-turn directions. The OnStar IVA assists with common inquiries initiated by the non‑emergency OnStar blue button push in GM vehicles. However, humans are still standing by to help. The AI can distinguish phrases and words that may signify an emergency situation. The virtual assistant can quickly route the call to OnStar’s specially trained emergency Advisors.
AI Frees Up People to Answer More Important Questions
It comes down to manpower. If the virtual assistant can recognize and handle the most mundane navigation questions, OnStar Advisors can spend more time with customers with requests that require a human touch. Also, the virtual assistant can usually help the driver get answers more quickly and without having to be placed on hold.
Additionally, GM is using Google’s AI to help answer customer questions about GM vehicles and product features based on the technical information from GM’s extensive vehicle data repositories. Customers can get quick answers to questions like, “Tell me more about GM’s 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.” AI can also be used to explain new technology features in different vehicles. GM and Google believe that the uses could be endless.
GM OnStar Photo
Mary Conway is a professional automotive journalist and has decades of experience specializing in automotive news analysis. She covered the Detroit Three for more than twenty years for the ABC affiliate, in Detroit. Her affection for the Motor City comes naturally. Her father ran a gas station while Mary was growing up, in Wisconsin.
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