VW announces ChatGPT integration in select cars starting Q2


The annual Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, kicks off January 9 in Las Vegas, and the big auto news to ooze out of it is Volkswagen’s announcement that it will start integrating OpenAI’s ChatGPT into select vehicles starting in the second quarter of this year. The chatbot will talk its way into cars built on VW’s MEB and MQB platforms equipped with the IDA voice assistant: the ID.3, ID.4, ID.5, and ID.7, as well as the new Tiguan, Passat, and Golf. Volkswagen will be the first volume manufacturer to offer the emerging technology as standard equipment.

The system was developed by VW’s tech partner, the automotive AI firm Cerence, and should enable IDA to control the infotainment, navigation, and HVAC systems. It will also answer general knowledge questions, if and when they arise. “In the future,” says Volkswagen, “AI will provide additional information in response to questions that go beyond this as part of its continuously expanding capabilities. This can be helpful on many levels during a car journey: Enriching conversations, clearing up questions, interacting in intuitive language, receiving vehicle-specific information, and much more—purely hands-free.” That last bit is crucial, as we’ve all seen how AI renders hands.

VW ID-7 rear 3/4
Cars like the ID.7 will incorporate ChatGPT into the IDA voice assistant starting in the second quarter of 2024. ingobarenschee

VW claims the integration will be seamless, and users will not need to create an account or install any apps to access its functionality. Further, we are assured that personal data is protected and that ChatGPT does not gain access to vehicle information. Whew. To engage IDA, users simply say “Hello IDA,” or they can press a button on the steering wheel. That last part might actually be the best bit of news for VW fans—the return of actual buttons, rather than touch panels, to steering wheels. Turns out drivers still enjoy a bit of tactility, even if the most tactile experience of all—rowing your gears—will be unceremoniously stripped from the GTI after 2024.

Without the pesky time-suck of shifting gears to worry about, that frees up drivers to have what we can only hope will be deep and meaningful conversations with their cars.





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