Urtopia demonstrates ChatGPT as ebike co-pilot
OpenAI's ChatGPT has only been open to the public since November last year, yet the artificial-intelligence chatbot already seems to be everywhere. At Eurobike last week, China's Urtopia revealed its first application as an ebike co-pilot.
Urtopia burst onto crowdfunding platform Indiegogo in 2021 with a stunning carbon-framed ebike that was essentially a high-end computer on wheels. Thanks to a pair of wind-canceling microphones in the stem-integrated LCD display, riders could also talk to their ebike as they turned heads through city streets.
In reality, voice interactions were restricted to things like changing assist levels, turn signaling, volume adjustments of the built-in speaker and securing the ebike. But this technology has now allowed Urtopia to take ChatGPT along for the ride.
"Urtopia's control system is fully self-developed and integrated," the company told us. "As the first ebike to feature voice recognition, Urtopia can interact with ChatGPT through its advanced voice recognition technology, creating a truly intelligent and responsive bike experience. This innovative integration allows Urtopia to be a bike with a mind, making it stand out from the rest."
To be clear, this feature is not being made available to riders just yet, the ebike announced at Eurobike was a demonstrator for Urtopia's AIoT (Artificial Intelligence of Things) technology, and made use of the company's own ChatGPT enterprise account – which can't be shared with other users. But it could well be rolled out in the future.
What possible use could there be for ChatGPT on an ebike? Urtopia's Carbon One and Chord models already come with GPS navigation and mobile connectivity cooked in, so the chatbot could help with route-finding or make suggestions for places to visit, cafes to stop off at and so on. The built-in Bluetooth speaker could serve up curated playlists, potted histories on interesting locations or supply weather updates. And if a burning question pops into your head while out and about, the answer is just a quick chat away.
The company hasn't given very much away at this point, but the video below shows the rider having to push an activation button on the handlebar to initiate the chat, which suggests that ChatGPT isn't listening all the time. That's probably a good thing.
There's currently no indication of when, or even if, such smarts will be added to Urtopia's ebikes, but given the meteoric rise of ChatGPT, it surely won't be too long before AI chatbots are riding along on our urban adventures. After all, Mercedes recently announced that it was planning to integrate the OpenAI chatbot into its MBUX Voice Assistant.
Also launched at Eurobike was a low-step carbon ebike developed in collaboration with Hartmut Esslinger of Frog Design. All indications are that the Fusion all-roader will be just as tech-packed as the company's other models, but we'll have to wait to find out more.