2014 BMW i3Enlarge Photo
In the new, strange and intriguing world of electric cars, customers have plenty of questions to ask--and BMW is launching a tool to help answer those questions without having to contact your dealer. Called i Genius, it's actually an artificial intelligence service, combining a database of information on BMW's new electric cars with the ability to interpret a user's questions and respond accordingly.
The system is capable of interpreting words, the context of those words and the sentiment behind each question, allowing it to build an appropriate response in real time--even turning into a conversation with subsequent questions. Nothing is required beyond a simple text message, which BMW promises will be answered with a detailed and helpful answer.
The system was developed by London Brand Management, founded by 19-year-old Dmitry Aksenov. Of i Genius, Aksenov says, "our Artificial Intelligence software is truly groundbreaking and provides a unique channel for BMW and its customers to make better buying decisions by getting access to the right information at the right time in the right place." That means information at the tips of your fingers, even if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night wondering how much horsepower the i8 produces.
For the moment, the system is U.K.-only, and works by SMS-messaging a question to the shortcode 84737. In the interests of journalistic investigation, we asked it what engine the i8 uses. While a little verbose and PR-speaky, it confirmed the i8's 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline unit--and answered our follow-up question about the i3's launch date--November, in Europe (and early next year in the U.S.).
It's an interesting, useful service, and it's sure to offer answers to BMW's i customers once the first vehicles are delivered, too.