Is this the start of a new trend for carmakers?
Volkswagen has announced its IDA infotainment voice assistant will integrate the artificial intelligence-based chatbot ChatGPT at this year’s CES tech event in Las Vegas.
The German carmaker claims it’s the “first volume manufacturer” to offer ChatGPT as a standard feature from the second quarter of 2024.
Volkswagen has confirmed the new chatbot is offered in conjunction with the latest generation of infotainment software in the ID.3, ID.4, ID.5 and ID.7 MEB-based all-electric models, as well as the new MQB evo-based versions of the Tiguan and Passat.
The IDA voice assistant with ChatGPT integration will also feature in the updated Golf, which Volkswagen has teased wrapped in camouflage ahead of CES.
At this stage it’s unclear if this the IDA voice assistant with built-in ChatGPT functionality will be offered in Australia.
A Volkswagen Australia spokesperson said this is a “global announcement currently”, with full specifications for the new Golf, Tiguan, ID.4 and ID.5 to be confirmed “in due course”.
Enabled by Cerence Chat Pro, Volkswagen claims the integration of ChatGPT allows its IDA voice assistant to offer new capabilities “far beyond” the previous voice control.
For example, the IDA voice assistant will be able to be used to control the infotainment, navigation, climate control, and also answer general knowledge questions.
Volkswagen also claims in the future AI will be able to provide “additional information” in response to questions that go beyond this.
The voice assistant is activated by saying “Hello IDA” or by pressing a button on the steering wheel.
It first tries to see if the prompt can be executed or answered by the Volkswagen system, before forwarding it “anonymously” to AI.
Volkswagen notes that ChatGPT does not gain access to any vehicle data, with questions and answers deleted immediately.
“Volkswagen has always democratised technology and made it accessible to the many,” said Volkswagen member of the board of management for technical development Kai Grünitz.
“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 isn’t the only carmaker that has been working on implementing ChatGPT into its vehicles.
General Motors vice president Scott Miller told Semafor in March last year that ChatGPT is coming to its vehicles, though he didn’t disclose a timeframe.
“ChatGPT is going to be in everything,” said Mr Miller.