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Is This the Future of Driving? Volkswagen Takes AI Interaction to the Next Level


The integration of AI driving into various aspects of daily life continues to expand, and Volkswagen is joining the trend by planning to incorporate ChatGPT into its vehicles. As part of its CES 2024 announcements, the automaker reveals that its existing IDA voice assistant will collaborate with ChatGPT across a range of its newer models. This move follows in the footsteps of Mercedes-Benz, which had previously announced AI Driving integration in June of the preceding year.

Volkswagen specifies that ChatGPT will be implemented in specific models equipped with the latest generation of the company’s infotainment systems. These models include the ID.7, ID.4, ID.5, ID.3, the new Volkswagen Tiguan, the new Passat, and the new Golf. The company plans to introduce ChatGPT as a “standard feature” in “many” production vehicles in the second quarter of 2024. While Volkswagen did not specify the regions where this feature will be available, it did mention that its inclusion is currently under consideration for the US market. This development suggests a growing trend in the automotive industry to integrate advanced AI capabilities into vehicles for enhanced user experiences and convenience.

Volkswagen’s integration of ChatGPT aims to enhance the capabilities of its existing voice assistant, IDA. The current voice assistant can manage tasks like controlling the infotainment system, navigation, and climate control. With the addition of ChatGPT, VW envisions a more intuitive and dynamic conversational experience, allowing users to engage in back-and-forth dialogues with the assistant.

The press release highlights several potential benefits, including enriching conversations, clarifying questions, and providing vehicle-specific information. This aligns with the broader industry trend seen with Google and Amazon, where efforts are directed toward making virtual assistants more conversational and user-friendly.

Notably, users won’t need to set up or configure the system extensively. Activation of the voice assistant will prompt the system to seamlessly integrate ChatGPT for more complex queries. Importantly, VW emphasizes the privacy aspect, assuring that ChatGPT doesn’t access any information about the vehicle, and both questions and answers are promptly deleted.

While initial skepticism about the application of ChatGPT in a car is understandable, the potential for better understanding and answering queries while driving could make the technology worthwhile. Volkswagen has not confirmed whether there will be demonstrations of this new technology at CES, but the prospect of experiencing it firsthand is an exciting possibility.

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