Daimler Financial Services, a subsidiary of vehicle company Daimler AG, is investing in Auckland-based intelligent and emotional avatar developer Soul Machines.
Daimler is the first premium brand in the automotive sector to develop emotional intelligence uses for Soul Machine’s technology.
“After successfully testing how artificial intelligence helps our employees better service customers, we are now investing in a disruptive technology to further enhance the customer experience," said Udo Neumann, global CIO of Daimler Financial Services, during his keynote at the Gartner Symposium.
Terms of the investment were not disclosed and no recent shareholding changes are recorded by the Companies Office.
Daimler and Soul Machines presented digital avatar "Sarah" in February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Since then, "Sarah" was successful in answering most frequently asked customer questions during an internal pilot at one of the company’s call centres in the USA.
Daimler plans to use Soul Machines' technology to optimise the customer experience through artificial and emotional intelligence.
"Sarah" will be able to support customers like a personal concierge, recognising diverse individual customer needs and offering the right information at the right time.
“Customers expect intuitive, time-saving services that are available 24/7 through the channel that is most convenient for them," said Benedikt Schell, chief experience officer at Daimler Financial Services.
"With the investment in Soul Machines we are laying an important foundation to not just meet, but exceed these customer expectations."
The investment puts Soul Machines in an even better position to quickly develop and test its disruptive technology in the automotive sector, said Greg Cross, chief business officer at Soul Machines.