Volkswagen announced that its new onboard voice assistant, powered by ChatGPT, which enables interactive conversations, will be available by mid-2024.
Unveiled at this year’s CES tradeshow in Las Vegas, VW will equip most of its product line with a voice assistant that can respond to diverse user commands, from adjusting temperature to locating specific restaurants.
VW’s Kai Gruenitz highlighted customers’ preference for seamless experiences, saying, “Our customers don’t want to manually adjust their seats … they want to use speech dialogue systems.”
The chatbot will be available in the Volkswagen ID.3, ID.4, ID.5, and ID.7 electric models, as well as the gas-powered Golf, Tiguan, and Passat.
The voice assistant is due to a partnership between VW and AI company Cerence, Inc., using Cerence’s Chat Pro which is built on OpenAI’s LLM and uses ChatGPT to power its generative AI responses.
Thomas Ulbrich, a member of VW’s Board of Management, discussed the partnership saying, “By leveraging Cerence Chat Pro, we are able to bring added value and a fun and engaging experience to our drivers with minimal integration effort and on a short development and deployment timeline, ensuring our customers are benefitting from new AI-powered conversational technology.”
Many car manufacturers have been offering forms of voice assistants for several years, but VW is the first to fully integrate OpenAI’s ChatGPT into their offerings.
By combining VW’s extensive data set from past voice assistants and using the information to train a new model using the underlying generative AI enabled by ChatGPT, VW thinks it has jumped to the front of the offerings of car-based voice assistants.
General Motors has a similar AI-driven assistant planned, while Mercedes-Benz trialed ChatGPT for users to execute tasks like making reservations via MBUX-enabled vehicles.