ALD Automotive to Launch AI Chatbot | Auto Finance News | Auto Finance News

ALD Automotive to Launch AI Chatbot

ALD Automotive will launch a chatbot using Facebook Messenger and artificial intelligence in Poland this month, following an internal innovation challenge that ALD hosted for its employees last year, Auto Finance News has learned.

The leasing and fleet management provider hosts several innovation challenges throughout the year, primarily for startups but also for ALD’s employees.

The Paris, France-based company’s most recent employee innovation challenge spurred the chatbot idea, after a failed attempt to create ALD Drive, a social media network for ALD’s private and commercial clients to communicate with each other and ALD employees, John Saffrett, ALD’s chief administrative officer, told Auto Finance News.

“We actually launched that product [ALD Drive] in Portugal and it wasn’t successful,” he said. “We don’t really have the cachet to create our own social network. Therefore, we have to go into our client’s social network — and that led to the creation of the chatbots,” he added.

Today, bots help people shop for clothes, order food, and find restaurants. Bots can even manage money by showing your upcoming bills, bank balance, and helping you save money through text messages. The focus right now, for many companies, is incorporating these bots into messaging services to provide various capabilities for consumers via cell phones.

The principle behind ALD’s chatbot is that its clients “shouldn’t have to step out of their busy lives to contact or interact with ALD,” Saffrett said. “So, we open up a part in their world by becoming a friend on Facebook and allowing them to interact with us 24/7 via a chatbot, which has an AI engine behind it. [The engine] is being built up to understand and respond to queries, and interpret using natural language techniques.”

ALD hosts various global challenge for students, startups, and employees, centered around a specific theme focused on the mobility services of future, Saffrett said. “We look to identify a number of products and services that we can bring to market in first half of 2018,” he said, and “there is quite a lot of innovation activity going on within our organization.”

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