At CES 2024, Volkswagen announced that it is bringing ChatGPT into its vehicles starting later this year to improve the driving experience. Integrated into its IDA voice assistant, Volkswagen says that the new feature will make conversations richer, information clearer, vehicle controls more intuitive, and functionalities more powerful – all hands-free.
According to Volkswagen, the seamless integration delivered through technology partner Cerence allows drivers to activate the ChatGPT features simply by using voice commands or pressing a button. No additional accounts or apps will be required. The company says Cerence Chat Pro handles secure anonymization of personal data, while still enabling AI features that go far beyond typical automotive voice control.
Cerence Chat Pro is the fastest and easiest way for automakers to integrate ChatGPT into their in-car assistant platforms with full flexibility, extensive customization, and low integration effort. Volkswagen will be the first automaker to roll out Cerence Chat Pro via cloud updates to cars already on the road, delivering immediate value to drivers as they look to leverage generative AI for productivity and entertainment while on the go. Built specifically for the in-car experience, Cerence Chat Pro will go live in current MEB and MQB evo models from VW Group brands that use the IDA voice assistant
Kai Grünitz, Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development characterizes the move as continuing the company’s mission of “democratizing technology” across vehicle classes. Calling it an “innovative strength,” Grünitz positions the new in-vehicle ChatGPT as both a driver convenience and embodiment of VW’s identity around pioneering access to tech capabilities.
While specifics around full feature sets remain forthcoming, Volkswagen’s CES preview points toward expanded potential AI could unlock. This includes controls for entertainment and navigation, ability for natural conversations and clarifications, intuitive commands across vehicle systems, and informative responses on vehicle capabilities – now all achievable conversationally.
Cerence CEO Stefan Ortmanns hints at even further possibilities to design AI user experiences enhancing future Volkswagen in-car assistants. The integration will be standard in many Volkswagen models from the second quarter of 2024, including ID.7, ID.4, ID.5, ID.3, the new Tiguan and Passat, and the new Golf.
With other automakers also exploring or piloting AI model integrations, Volkswagen’s move signals yet another defining moment of large language models crossing into the mainstream.