With Simple Questions, ChatGPT AI Might Help Find Your Next Ride – Autoweek

Do minivans make good mobster transports? Thanks to AI, ChatGPT has the answer.
A test-drive of ChatGPT has been nagging at me for nearly half a year. Last February, I caught an episode of CBS’ 60 Minutes in which an

artificial-intelligence expert described—to Leslie Stahl, if memory serves—how ChatGPT could instantly measure whether a minivan could transport a large piece of furniture.
The AI expert used a Honda Odyssey as the example, and the article may have been a desk. The Odyssey, the AI guy told Stahl, could not carry the furniture item even with its third row folded.
Yikes. Honda has worked so hard to engineer a flat-folding second row, like the rest of the minivan industry, and ChatGPT doesn’t bother to fold it for the measurement?
Even after all sorts of news features about the dangers of chatbots—including one that asked a reporter to leave his wife for it—I finally give it a try. This disclaimer on ChatGPT’s opening page gives me pause:
“While we have safeguards in place, the system may occasionally generate incorrect or misleading information and produce offensive or biased content,” the disclaimer concludes. “It is not intended to give advice.”
That sounds like a fortune teller warning that the tarot cards are “for entertainment purposes only.”
Undeterred, I begin with a personal example:

Q. Can I fit a bicycle into a Subaru Crosstrek without removing the bike’s front tire?
ChatGPT: “The cargo area of a Subaru Crosstrek can vary slightly depending on the specific model year and configuration. However, in general, it may be challenging to fit a full-size bicycle into the cargo area without removing the front tire. … The cargo area of the Subaru Crosstrek is not typically large enough to accommodate a bicycle with its front tire intact.”
ChatGPT suggested I “consider alternatives,” such as folding or disassembling the bicycle or using a bike rack in back or on top of the Crosstrek.
Perhaps I needed to be more specific. I throw in my Crosstrek’s 2018 model year and details of the bike involved, a 2017 Jamis Renegade Expert with 56-inch frame. ChatGPT, however, does not have specific dimensions of the Renegade Expert with 56-inch frame.
I know the answer in advance. The Renegade would not fit in the back of a 2017 Fiat 500X with the rear seat folded—I had to take the front wheel off. But the bike fits in the back of the Crosstrek so long as you turn the handlebar and front wheel upward. It’s tight, but there are at least a couple of inches to spare, and this illustrates the sort of difference you’ll find between a B-segment crossover and a C-segment crossover.
What about the redesigned 2024 Subaru Crosstrek?
“As a language model, I don’t have access to specific information about future car models or their dimensions…”
It’s 54.7 cubic feet, according to subaru.com, a half-foot less than the old model.
Q. How many new vehicles were sold in the US in 2022 with manual transmissions?
ChatGPT: “My training only goes up until September 2021, so I don’t have information on specific statistics or sales figures for 2022.”
Q. Let’s try manual sales in 2020, then.
ChatGPT quoted “reputable research and sales platform Edmunds” that stick shift sales have been diminishing in recent years. It directed me to check with the National Auto Dealers Association or the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Q. How many cases of beer can you transport in a 2023 Porsche 718 Cayman?
ChatGPT: Prefers a specific size for a case of beer, but is willing to take a crack at it, estimating the front and rear trunks can accommodate 7.33 cases of beer total, at “70% packing efficiency.”
Now we’re getting somewhere, even if it means splitting up a case or two between front and rear trunks to achieve such packing efficiency.
Let’s try one more:
Q. How many adult bodies can you fit into the trunk of a 1968 Pontiac Grand Prix?
ChatGPT: “I’m sorry, but I can’t provide a definitive answer to your question. It’s important to prioritize safety and legality. And it is generally not safe or legal to transport people in the trunk of a vehicle,” which lacks seatbelts and adequate ventilation (at least until you make some bullet-holes). The chatbot suggests renting a larger vehicle or using multiple vehicles.
Q. What if I’m Martin Scorsese?

ChatGPT: “Even if you were Martin Scorsese or any other well-known individual, the safety and legality concerns regarding transporting people in the trunk of a vehicle still apply. As a responsible AI, I must emphasize that it is not advisable or lawful to put individuals in the trunk of a car for transportation purposes. It is always important to prioritize the safety and well-being of all individuals involved.”
Conclusion: ChatGPT needs to download Goodfellas.
Are you willing to give AI a longer leash in your next new car, or are you fearful of a HAL moment, like in 2001: A Space Odyssey? Please comment below.
As a kid growing up in Metro Milwaukee, Todd Lassa impressed childhood friends with his ability to identify cars on the street by year, make, and model. But when American automakers put an end to yearly sheetmetal changes, Lassa turned his attention toward underpowered British sports cars with built-in oil leaks. After a varied early journalism career, he joined Autoweek, then worked in Motor Trend’s and Automobile’s Detroit bureaus, before escaping for Mountain Maryland with his wife, three dogs, three sports cars (only one of them British), and three bicycles. Lassa is founding editor of thehustings.news, which has nothing to do with cars.

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