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How the Automotive Industry Is Employing in-Car AI-Assisted Customer Support

Boost.ai, a leader in Artificial Intelligence, provides conversational AI technology to Silvercar by Audi, disrupting the American market.

How the Automotive Industry Is Employing in-Car AI-Assisted Customer Support
Audi A3 vehicles. These vehicles are some of the most popular premium cars in the worldTramino/iStock (editorial use only)

Conversational AI is a form of Artificial Intelligence that allows people to communicate with applications, Websites, and devices in everyday, human-like natural language via voice, text, touch, or gesture input. Conversational AI allows a fast interaction between users and the application using their own words and terminology. 

Chatbots (virtual agents): Market overview 

According to a Mordor Intelligence report on Chatbot Market: Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2020 - 2025), the chatbot market was valued at $17.17 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $102.29 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 34.75 percent over the forecast period 2020 - 2025. 

"Virtual assistants are increasing because of deep neural networks, machine learning, and other advancements in AI technologies," according to the report. Virtual assistants, such as chatbots and smart speakers, are used for various applications across several end-user industries, such as Retail, Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI), Healthcare, Automotive, and others. 

A chatbot is an Artificial Intelligence-powered application that converses with a human being in order to solve a problem, or to answer a specific query. This is referred to as conversational AI. 

Conversational AI reduces the operational time and enhances efficiency. According to Salesforce, 69 percent of consumers prefer to use chatbots due to the speed at which they can communicate with a brand.

What conversational AI brings into the automotive industry 

audi TT orange
Side view of an orange colored Audi TT sports coupe /Source: Arpad Benedek, iStock (editorial use only)

Today's consumers actively engage in chat and messenger applications --also called chatbots-- whenever they want to purchase, rent a vehicle, research a product, or interact in real-time with a business. 

Business platforms enhanced with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can now use a vast amount of data in order to provide real-time experiences that let customers engage with their preferred brands. The days of waiting to speak with a customer service representative are over. 

The majority of today's customers are not willing to waste their time staying on hold. In fact, around 90 percent of customers prefer using instant messaging to communicate with businesses, and around 66 percent of consumers prefer messaging over speaking on the phone. 

Conversational Artificial Intelligence can play a paramount role in the auto-industry by providing marketers with chatbots to assist them in providing a fast and efficient consumer's experience. Chatbots can increase sales, provide accurate information, improve and accelerate customer experience during the entire cycle from beginning to end.

AI-powered chatbots that learn from algorithms and experience have the potential of solving problems and answer questions more efficiently and effectively without the need of human intervention. This results in an overall positive customer satisfaction.

Chatbots can provide customers with a personalized 24/7 experience at the right time and the right place for the customer. Chatbots enable customers to buy or rent a car through an application that is always available for the customer to use whenever and wherever they need it.

How Boost.ai and Silvercar by Audi disrupt the American market 

audi white
Audi R8 front view, the world's first, all-LED headlights. The Audi R8 is a mid-engined sports car that features a 4.2L V8 engine producing 420 HP /Source: Tomeng, iStock (editorial use only)

Artificial Intelligence is everywhere. The second half of the year 2020 brings the implementation of more applications into the automotive industry. 

To take its quality control to the next level, Audi uses computer vision-equipped cameras to detect tiny little cracks in sheet metal used in its manufacturing processes, which would not be visible to human eyes. That is AI working toward perfecting every task possible.

Recently, Boost.ai, a Norwegian software company and global leader in Artificial Intelligence for Fortune 1000 companies, joined forces with premium car rental serviceSilvercar by Audi. Boost.ai’s conversational AI platform is set to enhance customer support and care from car reservation to car return. 

Boost.ai is one of Europe’s leading providers of AI-driven virtual agents, and Silvercar is Boost.ai’s first American customer. This move prepares Boost.ai's path to disrupt the American market.  

What is conversational AI? Beyond chatbots

According to Boost.ai, Conversational AI is the synthetic brain power that makes machines capable of understanding, processing, and responding to human language.

Using sophisticated deep learning and natural language understanding (NLU), it can elevate a customer’s experience into something truly transformational. According to Boost.ai, customers no longer have to feel the frustration of primitive chatbot solutions that often fall short due to narrow scope and limitations.

Boost.ai says that with conversational AI you can go beyond just translating Website content into simple chatbot responses. Instead, customers can block credit cards, file insurance claims, upgrade data plans, scan invoices, and more; and everything can be done directly from the chat window.

The chatbot experience: How it works in real life

Complementing Silvercar’s mobile-first connected travel experience, the new virtual agent can effectively assist customers with questions on approximately 400 topics including making one-way bookings and policy changes when applicable. The virtual agent also integrates directly with a number of Silvercar’s key systems, including authentication, bookings, and billing.

According to Steve Sierra, Director Training and Implementation at Silvercar by Audi, Silvercar by Audi and Boost.ai are creating a better experience that makes it fast and effortless for customers to achieve their on-the-go transportation needs in a way that fits their lifestyle. "Our premium car rental customers can now use the power of Artificial Intelligence to enhance their booking experience and get on the road more quickly," Sierra said in a statement. 

Silvercar, which was acquired by Audi in 2017, is also deploying the cognitive conversational attributes of Boost.ai’s Artificial Intelligence technology to support communication among its staff and increase their effectiveness with customer queries by ensuring customers are connected to the right human agent at the right time. The virtual agent will handle personalized information and assistance for Silvercar’s customers via its Website as a first-line augment to 24/7 live agent support.

According to Lars Selsås, founder and CEO of Boost.ai, "Silvercar is well-known for delivering a fast, frictionless experience, and Boost.ai is the perfect complement to their innovative service model and Audi’s advanced technology."

Silvercar by Audi is a premium rental car service with a fleet consisting entirely of award-winning Audi vehicles. Silvercar offers well-equipped vehicles, local contactless pick-up and drop off, modern amenities, and a seamless, elevated user experience.

Boost.ai's experience in conversational artificial intelligence technology adds to the equation offering virtual agents with unlimited scalability, enterprise-level security, and best-in-class privacy features. 

The car of the future is already here: Me! 

As conversational AI keeps evolving, its applications will resemble more what once was considered futuristic or taken from the science fiction realm.

In 1982, a modified black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am co-starred --along with David Husselhoff-- in the original television series Knight Rider. In the series, the name of the voice of the car was K.I.T.T., an acronym for the Knight Industries Two Thousand's microprocessor installed in Michael Knight's car. 

K.I.T.T. was all what you expect from a good self-driving car with an embedded advanced Artificial Intelligence; it was an artificially intelligent electronic computer module in the body of a highly advanced autonomous robotic automobile.

K.I.T.T. also appeared in the 2008 pilot film for a new Knight Rider TV series, and then, in the new series itself. This time, K.I.T.T. was in a 2008-2009 Ford Shelby GT500KR.   

"I am the voice of Knight Industries Two Thousand's microprocessor" - K.I.T.T. (from Knight Rider) 

In the series, K.I.T.T.'s microprocessor was the center of the self-aware cybernetic logic module which allowed K.I.T.T. to think, learn, communicate, and interact with humans. Today, advanced Machine Learning capabilities allow virtual agents installed in cars to respond in a similar way at least during the process of booking a vehicle. 

Many of those who watched the Knight Rider back in the 80s, perhaps thought that a self-driving car that could talk was never going to become reality. Yet, when K.I.T.T. said to Michael in one of the episodes "the car of the future is already here: Me," he was right.

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