10 Auto Finance and Mobility Companies Tackling AI

  • Emma Sandler
  • July 31, 2017

The term “artificial intelligence” may seem like a 21st century buzzword, but in fact it has existed for more than six decades. However, only now is a part of our daily lives.

AI exists in simple forms, like chatbots and digital personal assistants, as well as more advanced iterations in machine learning and self-driving cars. Transportation is certainly on the cutting edge of advancing the science of AI, from underwriting with ZestFinance to in-car personal assistants from ALD Automotive and Nuance.

Here are 10 companies that are shaking up mobility with AI.

1. ZestFinance

Since the company’s founding in 2009, ZestFinance, an underwriting company, has been applying big data and machine learning to credit underwriting. “Our business is unique in that our proprietary machine-learning underwriting platform, ZAML, can turn data from any source — including messy or erroneous data — into highly predictive credit decision information,” Douglas Merrill, co-founder and chief executive, told Auto Finance News.

ZestFinance recently launched a lender tool that uses machine learning to originate loans for thin-file borrowers. The company is already working with one of the “Big Three” captives to implement this system for its auto originations, Merrill said.

2. German AutoLabs

With the growing array of tasks that virtual assistants are able to accomplish, paying bills is likely to be the next task available. For instance, German Autolabs — an internet-of-things solutions provider — is developing a “digital co-driver,” as an in-car artificial intelligence system.

The system, dubbed Chris, can be used for calling, messaging, email, music, navigation, and more. The Berlin, Germany-based company is also “in early talks” with automakers to develop a solution whereby consumers can make payments through Chris for their auto loan or lease, Holger Weiss, the company’s founder and chief executive, previously told AFN.

“Right now we are running the last tests on our speech recognition and brought successfully our hard- and software together. So for the rest of 2017, our focus lays 100% on the market launch of Chris beginning next year,” Katharina Zegers, a communications official, told AFN.

3. Nuance

Nuance, a software technology corporation, has a history of working with global auto manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers, developing in-car infotainment solutions speech, and working with language understanding and touch technologies. In particular, Nuance’s Dragon Drive connected car platform brings together conversational and cognitive AI capabilities to create a more “human” experience for drivers. Nuance applies AI as part of an in-car assistant that can answer general knowledge questions as well as specific ones based a drivers’ own preferences, location, situational context — and even data from the vehicle’s sensors, Robert Policano, solutions marketing, Nuance Automotive told AFN.

“Additionally, Dragon Drive is an agnostic platform that can seamlessly support communication with other third-party providers and smart devices, creating an effortless user experience from the home to the car, and everywhere in between,” he said.

4. CarLabs

CarLabs offers a business-to-business car shopping solution via AI-backed chatbots for users on platforms like Facebook Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa. The bots can continuously integrate the automaker’s data into its functionality without having to manually update information, Brendan Flynn, vice president of marketing, told AFN. The Calabasas, Calif.-based company is currently working with four partners — including an undisclosed OEM, which will launch its own shopping bot on Facebook Messenger in November, he said.

“Among other benefits, this allows us to scale from featuring one vehicle to many and with limitless comparison scenarios very quickly,” he said. In addition, because of the conversational tones directed by the chatbots, it will be easier to communicate with the consumers about new transportation options meaning their business is adaptable for when the industry moves beyond just selling cars but transportation-as-a-service offerings.

5. AutoGravity

AI plays an important role in AutoGravity’s business model, Dr. Martin Prescher, chief technology officer, told AFN. AI served the purpose of individualizing each customer’s experience and helping him or her to navigate the complex ecosystem between manufacturer, dealer, and lender. Currently, AutoGravity — a multi-lender, indirect car-buying platform — is implementing advanced lender-matching algorithms to intelligently match consumers with up to four tailored financing offers from a network of top auto lenders, he said.

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