AI virtual assistant, Charlie, may be in a shop near you soon

By CRM Staff
Toronto, Ontario — April 24, 2018 — Collision repairers across the globe could soon be sharing a co-worker. Charlie, a digital service assistant which could be thought of as the automotive aftermarket’s version of Siri, was unveiled by Bosch Engineering in March.
“This patent-applied-for dealership partner aims to bring a focused approach to all dealership services, including scheduled maintenance, collision repair, general repair, warranty processing and technician training,” Bosch said in a press release.
To be made available in Bosch’s BEST system, Charlie is said to be able to provide reports on customer service, warranty and repair procedure information and any technical updates. The German firm says the prototype is designed to convince an OEM to partner with the company and use the AI to perform a slew of duties for anyone dealing with their vehicles – which, while aimed at dealers, could also be very useful to repairers.
While the idea of an industry-specific virtual assistant may seem novel in the shop floor and on the showroom, the idea is not new to all transportation sectors. Boewing, the world’s largest manufacturer of aircrafts, has invested in a similar system able to provide repair advice to technicians.
At the manufacturing level, AI technologies have been of huge interest to OEMs for several years. When, in 2015, Toyota made headlines for its decision to invest a billion dollars into AI initiatives and opening a centre for AI research in California, some industry analysts predicted the investment was premature. Since then, almost all of their competitors have followed suit.
In fact, according to an April report from TATA consultants, 90 percent of OEMs have invested in AI, with the remaining 10 percent planning to do so by 2020. The early investments have already begun to pay off, with the OEMs that pursued AI programs reporting an average of 12 percent revenue improvement.
For more information about Charlie, please visit
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