The manual is implemented as a smartphone app named “Ask Mercedes”. Users can enter questions regarding the operation of the vehicle as well as the function of the various cockpit instruments and user interface elements. They can put their questions either via voice recognition or through the smartphone’s keyboard. If the car is one of the latest version of Daimler’s E and S class, the app also can scan the control element or displays in question through the smartphone camera to specify the question. The app then visually recognizes the object and explains the respective function through a chatbot.
The app is designed to enable customers to explore their new vehicle. Car owners also can use the app’s functionality via social media channels and voice assistants such as Facebook messenger, Google Home or Amazon Echo.
The Ask Mercedes app is not only designed to serve as a virtual manual, but also to establish a personalized customer experience, the company said. Towards this end, the chatbot can not only answer HMI-related questions but also questions around the Mercedes brand and the Daimler enterprise. Likewise, it offers support in questions like “how can I drive more eco-friendly?”
The virtual manual also contains can display graphcis and photos to support its oral explanations. In addition, it contains a link to a classical manual. It is planned to expand the technology to cover more vehicle models, content and communication channels.