Press Releases


Posted on October 17, 2018

Emotional Intelligence: Daimler Financial Services invests in Soul Machines

Summary

  • Daimler Financial Services makes strategic investment in New Zealand-based company Soul Machines to further develop artificial and emotional intelligence for multi-channel, customer-service pilot.
  • Chief Information Officer Udo Neumann: “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.”
  • The New Zealand start-up Soul Machines is a world leader in the field of emotional Intelligence for use in machines and digital avatars.

Orlando, Florida – Daimler Financial Services, the financial and mobility services captive of german premium car and commercial vehicle company Daimler AG, announced at the Gartner Symposium in Orlando (FL) a strategic investment in Soul Machines, a ground-breaking New Zealand company re-imagining how humans connect with machines, to further develop the combined use of artificial and emotional intelligence. Daimler is the first premium brand in the automotive sector to develop emotional intelligence use cases based on 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 presentation at the Gartner Symposium. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Customer Experience: Use Case for Call Centers

Daimler Financial Services and Soul Machines already 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 centers in the USA. Daimler Financial Services plans to use Soul Machines’ technology to optimize the customer experience through artificial and emotional intelligence. Digital avatar “Sarah” will be able to support customers like a personal concierge. Thanks to Emotional Intelligence, the machine will be able to recognize the most diverse individual customer needs and offer the right information at the right time. For customers, this means communicating with a convenient, voice-controlled and emotionally intelligent touchpoint. This brings Daimler Financial Services at the forefront of a changing environment, as the share of online business is increasing significantly and customers are making their purchasing decisions on digital platforms. Benedikt Schell, Chief Experience Officer at Daimler Financial Services: “Customers expect intuitive, time-saving services that are available 24/7 through the channel that is most convenient for them. With the investment in Soul Machines we are laying an important foundation to not just meet, but exceed these customer expectations.”

Digital Avatars: Machines with emotional intelligence

Soul Machines is a New Zealand company, founded in 2016, specializing in the space of digital avatars and emotional intelligence. The company brings technology to life by creating incredibly life-like, emotionally responsive, artificial humans with personality and character that allows machines to talk to humans face-to-face.

“As we continue to lead the world in advanced AI technology and development of digital humans across a broad spectrum of industries, this strategic investment from Daimler Financial Services puts us in an even better position to quickly develop and test our disruptive technology in the automotive sector together with our great partner,” stated Greg Cross, Chief Business Officer, Soul Machines.

CIO Udo Neumann adds: “Emotional intelligence will play a crucial role in adapting services, such as car financing, leasing and insurance, car-sharing or ride-hailing to customers. Different from today’s voice-based, assistance technology, “Sarah” will be programmed to recognize non-verbal behavior in real-time using face recognition.”

About Soul Machines

Soul Machines is a ground-breaking, high-tech company of AI researchers, neuroscientists, psychologists, artists and innovative thinkers; re-imagining how we connect with machines. The company brings technology to life by creating incredibly life-like, emotionally responsive, artificial humans with personality and character that allow machines to talk to us face-to-face. Their vision is to humanize artificial intelligence to better humanity. Soul Machines is now deploying the world’s first digital avatars with some of the biggest corporate brands in the world in Banking and Finance, Software and Technology, Automotive, Healthcare, Energy and Education industries.

Further information from Daimler is available at:
www.media.daimler.com and www.daimler.com


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Daimler at a Glance

Daimler AG is one of the world’s most successful automotive companies. With its divisions Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses and Daimler Financial Services, the Daimler Group is one of the biggest producers of premium cars and the world’s biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles with a global reach. Daimler Financial Services provides financing, leasing, fleet management, insurance, financial investments, credit cards, and innovative mobility services. The company’s founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history with the invention of the automobile in the year 1886. As a pioneer of automotive engineering, it is a motivation and commitment of Daimler to shape safely and sustainably the future of mobility: The Group’s focus is on innovative and green technologies as well as on safe and superior automobiles that appeal and fascinate. Daimler consequently invests in the development of efficient drive trains with the long-term goal of locally emission-free driving: from hightech combustion engines about hybrid vehicles to electric drive trains powered by battery or fuel cell. Furthermore, the company follows a consistent path towards intelligent connectivity of its vehicles, autonomous driving and new mobility concepts. This is just one example of how Daimler willingly accepts the challenge of meeting its responsibility towards society and the environment. Daimler sells its vehicles and services in nearly all the countries of the world and has production facilities in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa. Its current brand portfolio includes, in addition to the world’s most valuable premium automotive brand, Mercedes-Benz (Source: Interbrand-Study, 10/4/2018), as well as Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes me, the brands smart, EQ, Freightliner, Western Star, BharatBenz, FUSO, Setra and Thomas Built Buses, and Daimler Financial Services’ brands: Mercedes-Benz Bank, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Daimler Truck Financial, moovel, car2go and mytaxi.
The company is listed on the stock exchanges of Frankfurt and Stuttgart (stock exchange symbol DAI). In 2017, the Group sold around 3.3 million vehicles and employed a workforce of more than 289,300 people. With application of IFRS 15 and IFRS 9 in financial year 2017, Group revenue would have amounted to €164.2 billion and Group EBIT would have amounted to €14.3 billion. Before application of IFRS 15 and 9, Group revenue in 2017 amounted to €164.3 billion and Group EBIT amounted to €14.7 billion, as previously reported.