Hyundai Automates The Nagging Car Salesman

Illustration for article titled Hyundai Automates The Nagging Car Salesman
Photo: Hyundai

While we’ve all been busy ooh-ing and aah-ing over the idea of the autonomous car, Hyundai went and somersaulted over our heads and developed the autonomous car salesman.

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And now I see what may have attracted Tim Cook to the South Korean carmaker in the first place.

Illustration for article titled Hyundai Automates The Nagging Car Salesman
Photo: Hyundai

Hyundai named the cute little robot DAL-e. But never mind the shameless Disney/Pixar reference, because that automaton has been programmed for one single task: to sell you a car.

It’s an amoral, undaunted margin machine whose blank expression can only ask, “Excuse me, but before we proceed can I get you to sign this purchase agreement?”

Hyundai says the name DAL-e is an acronym that stands for Drive you, Assist you, Link with you-experience. But I don’t know. It reads a bit contrived. In any case, the impetus for the robot salesman is pandemic-related, and Hyundai said it was designed to provide a friendly and informative point of contact for buyers who might be concerned about contracting COVID-19.

The South Korean carmaker described the robot as follows:

It is accoutered with friendly, emotive physical features for close interactions with customers. In the event that a customer enters the showroom without wearing a mask, the android recognizes it and advises the customer to wear one. In terms of its communication capability, it can engage in an automated and smooth dialogue with customers by providing useful information on products and services and responding to verbal and screen touch commands.

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But more than just a precaution during the pandemic, the robot can read human expressions, Hyundai says, and it is even outfitted with artificial intelligence and a language comprehension platform. My immediate concerns are about whether the high-tech robot is a really pushy salesman and whether it can take no for an answer. I suppose it would have more of a legitimate excuse than its organic counterparts.

Still, nagging salesmen stopped me from going to dealerships way before the pandemic ever did.

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Illustration for article titled Hyundai Automates The Nagging Car Salesman
Photo: Hyundai
Illustration for article titled Hyundai Automates The Nagging Car Salesman
Photo: Hyundai
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Illustration for article titled Hyundai Automates The Nagging Car Salesman
Photo: Hyundai

Overall, I think I’m a fan of the little ’bot. Though I would be afraid to anger it because it gives me strong R.O.B. vibes, and I don’t need that kind of heat. Hyundai says that DAL-e will make its way to Hyundai and Kia showrooms, so I might actually be excited to walk into either of those dealers now.

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. Periodista automotriz, Naturally Aspirated Stan.

DISCUSSION

shanemorris
Shane Morris

Me: “Look, I really just want to get this Palisade and get out of here...”

DAL-e: “Here is the four square. What is your down payment required? My management programming can be modified if you require a $725 monthly payment.”

Me: “I’m financing with my credit union DAL-e. Please, just let me...”

DAL-e: “Please hold. My function requires me to exchange data with the management.”

Me: “Why are you talking to your manager? I just told you I’m financing with my credit union.”

DAL-e: “The management functions for this deal require me to complete all four squares before outputting a value. Please proceed.”

Me: “Can I just pay my down payment so we can get out of here?”

DAL-e: “Trade value accepted. The inspection process is complete. My programming indicates other dealerships will not match the price our dealership is offering for your 2018 BMW M3. This deal is optimal. My management programming data outputs indicate this is a deal rated as good. Today is your expected delivery day.”

Me: “Are you kidding me? I can sell my M3 for at least $45,000. What kind of lowball offer is $34,000?!”

DAL-e: “If your trade value is unacceptable, my four squares programming indicates you require a lower monthly payment. Please hold. Management data is required.