Saturday February 24, 2024

Volkswagen thinks integrating ChatGPT in its vehicles will make its in-car voice assistant good
  Posted by: Engadget on Jan 8th, 2024 4:00 PM

AI is literally everywhere, so it's not a big surprise to learn that Volkswagen is planning to bring ChatGPT to its vehicles. As part of its CES 2024 announcements, the automaker says that its existing IDA voice assistant will work with ChatGPT across a range of its newer models. VW isn't the first to try this — Mercedes-Benz announced ChatGPT integration in June of last year, so it seems like this is certainly a thing we're all going to have to get used to.

Specifically, VW says that ChatGPT will be enabled in these specific models with the latest generation of the company's infotainment systems: ID.7 (pictured above), ID.4, ID.5, ID.3, the new Volkswagen Tiguan, the new Passat and the new Golf. It'll roll out ChatGPT as as "standard feature" in "many" production vehicles in Q2 of 2024; the company didn't say in which regions, but notes that the feature is only currently "being considered" for the US market.

As for what it can do, it sounds like ChatGPT will be used to enhance the existing capabilities of VW's voice assistant as well as offer some new conversational tricks. VW notes how its assistant can already do things like control the infotainment system, navigation, climate control and other such features. With the addition of ChatGPT, VW envisions interactions with more intuitive, back-and-forth language. That's something we're seeing from companies like Google and Amazon as they explore how to enhance Google Assistant and Alexa, so the same may apply here. VW's press release specifically cites "enriching conversations, clearing up questions, interacting in intuitive language, receiving vehicle-specific information" as things that ChatGPT can enable. 

One good thing is that this will all be built into the car without the need for a driver to really set anything up. As you can now, you'll activate the voice assistant — and if the car's standard system can't adequately answer the query, it'll anonymously send it to ChatGPT. The company stresses that ChatGPT doesn't get any information about the vehicle and questions and answers are deleted immediately. 

I'll admit that I was initially skeptical of how something like ChatGPT could be used in a car — but if it can in fact better understand and answer queries that are important when you're behind the wheel, I'm willing to give it a shot. VW didn't say if it would have any demos of this new tech at CES this year, but we'll be looking to see if we can experience it for ourselves. 

We're reporting live from CES 2024 in Las Vegas from January 6-12. Keep up with all the latest news from the show here.

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