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Volkswagen is bringing ChatGPT into its cars and SUVs

The VW logo is seen on the ID. Buzz, a fresh take on the iconic vehicle of the Volkswagen brand, during its world premiere in Paris, France, March 9, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

Volkswagen is joining the ChatGPT fraternity. On Monday at CES 2024 in Las Vegas, the German carmaker revealed plans to integrate an AI-powered chatbot into every Volkswagen model with its IDA voice assistant installed.

Why? Of course, this is for drivers who prefer an AI-powered chatbot to deliver their study material aloud.

The AI-powered chatbot, built on the Chat Pro product from software provider Cerence, will launch in Europe during the second quarter. Volkswagen’s EV lineup, which includes the ID.7, ID.4, ID.5, and ID.3, as well as its new Tiguan, Passat, and Golf cars, are among the models that will receive the AI chatbot. The function won’t be available on Volkswagen cars in the US for now. According to VW, it was “being considered.”

The text-generating AI chatbotOpenAI, a company that has become well-known among buzzy digital businesses in the past year, developed ChatGPT. Volkswagen is undoubtedly the most extensive carmaker planning to include ChatGPT in their cars. It’s not the first, though. In June last year, Mercedes-Benz integrated a conversational AI bot into its MBUX infotainment system.

Like Mercedes, Volkswagen has included ChatGPT into the IDA voice assistant’s back end. This allows drivers to answer general knowledge questions and operate the entertainment, navigation, and air conditioning.

With examples like “enriching conversations, clearing up questions, interacting in intuitive language, receiving vehicle-specific information, and much more—purely hands-free,” ChatGPT will go beyond these fundamental features, according to Volkswagen.

Drivers will engage with the IDA voice assistant in the same way as previously once the functionality is released. Pressing the button on the steering wheel or using the wake word “Hello IDA” will activate the voice assistant. The query will be sent anonymously to AI if the voice assistant cannot respond (anything more than Hey, IDA, what’s the weather forecast?). Because the IDA voice assistant will provide the answer, drivers might not even know when ChatGPT is active.

For VW, ChatGPT could be the beginning. The two businesses will “explore collaboration to design a new, large language model (LLM)-based user experience as the basis of Volkswagen’s next-generation in-car assistant,” according to Terence CEO Stefan Ortmanns.

It should be mentioned that the software division of the parent firm VW Group, Cariad, is working on something other than this deployment. In 2020, Cariad was established to address VW’s software issues. However, the unit had difficulties last year, such as a postponed software release and a management shuffle.

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