Volkswagen begins integrating ChatGPT into its production vehicles

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Volkswagen’s latest infotainment update rolling out to several of its ID EV models includes a popular new bot – ChatGPT. The German automaker kicked off CES 2024 in Las Vegas this morning with the announcement as it looks to make the chatbot a standard feature in a majority of its passenger vehicles.

Volkswagen Group as a whole has been an interesting OEM to follow the last couple years. As the Group’s entire portfolio looks to go all-electric over the next decade, we’ve seen it take huge strides forward, but plenty of stumbles back.

Sub-brands like Audi have dialed back grander EV plans, while the Group’s namesake marque continues to play catchup in the segment following less than encouraging EV software development.

Still, Volkswagen remains one of the largest globally recognized brands that continues to innovate and introduce new technologies into electric mobility. During the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – an expo known for cutting-edge tech and newsworthy announcements, Volkswagen shared that its vehicles will be gaining the assistance of one of the most popular tech breakthroughs – ChatGPT.

Volkswagen ChatGPT
Source: Volkswagen Group

ChatGPT to push Volkswagens well beyond voice control

Per Volkswagen Group, its latest update to its infotainment software includes the integration of ChatGPT into the back end of the automaker’s existing voice assistant “IDA,” enabled by Cerence Chat Pro.

To begin, IDA can control cabin features such as infotainment, navigation, and air conditioning and can answer specific questions pertaining to general knowledge. Looking ahead, Volkswagen says the AI will respond to questions beyond the general, including vehicle-specific information in real time. Kai Grünitz, Member of the Board of Management Volkswagen Brand for technical Development, spoke:

Volkswagen has always democratised technology and made it accessible to the many. This is simply ingrained in our DNA. As a result, we are now the first volume manufacturer to make this innovative technology a standard feature in vehicles from the compact segment upwards. Thanks to the seamless integration of ChatGPT and strong collaboration with our partner, Cerence, we are offering our drivers added value and direct access to the AI-based research tool. This also underlines the innovative strength of our new products.

Volkswagen owners who receive the infotainment update that includes ChatGPT can operate their new voice assistant as usual by either saying “Hello IDA” or pressing the button on the steering wheel.

The automaker made a point to state that ChatGPT does not gain access to any vehicle data and that Cerence Chat Pro ensures all questions and answers are deleted immediately to ensure data protection. To begin, ChatGPT will become available to drivers of the following Volkswagen models:

ID.7, ID.4, ID.5, ID.3, Tiguan, Passat, and Golf.

VW says it intends to roll out the chatbot as a standard feature in many more production models, beginning in Q2 2024. In the past, we’ve already seen fellow German automaker Mercedes-Benz integrate ChatGPT into an EQE SUV, but not to the scale of Volkswagen is planning.

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