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Daimler Financial Services makes strategic investment in Soul Machines; artificial and emotional intelligence

Daimler Financial Services, the financial and mobility services arem of Daimler AG, has made a strategic investment in Soul Machines—a New Zealand company re-imagining how humans connect with machines—further to 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.

—Udo Neumann, global CIO of Daimler Financial Services

Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

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 US.

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Sarah

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.

Using 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.

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.

—Benedikt Schell, Chief Experience Officer at Daimler Financial Services

Founded in 2016, Soul Machines specializes in 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 allow machines to talk to humans face-to-face.

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.

—Udo Neumann

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