Volkswagen Integrates ChatGPT Into IDA Voice Assistant for Enhanced Driving Experience

Volkswagen has unveiled plans to integrate the AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT into its vehicles equipped with the IDA voice assistant, showcasing the company’s commitment to advancing the driving experience through AI technology. This announcement, made at CES 2024 in Las Vegas, positions Volkswagen as the largest automaker to embrace ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI.

The integration, set to roll out in the second quarter of this year in Europe, initially focuses on Volkswagen’s electric vehicle lineup, including the ID.7, ID.4, ID.5, ID.3, as well as the new Tiguan, Passat, and Golf models. However, drivers in the United States will have to wait as the feature undergoes internal approvals for the U.S. market.

ChatGPT, originally designed for controlling infotainment, navigation, air conditioning, and answering general knowledge queries, is expected to broaden its capabilities. Volkswagen promises a range of features, including enriching conversations, answering questions in intuitive language, and providing vehicle-specific information – all hands-free. To bolster the chatbot’s capabilities, Volkswagen is leveraging a specialized large language model (LLM) from Cerence, named CaLLM, capable of addressing approximately 10,000 vehicle-specific queries.

Users can interact with the IDA voice assistant through the “Hello IDA” wake word or by pressing the steering wheel button. If the voice assistant encounters a request beyond its capabilities, the AI chatbot ChatGPT will step in, with responses seamlessly delivered through the IDA voice assistant.

Cerence CEO Stefan Ortmanns hinted at potential future collaborations between the two companies to craft a new LLM-based user experience for Volkswagen’s next-generation in-car assistant. Importantly, this integration is separate from the efforts of Cariad, Volkswagen Group’s software arm, established in 2020 to address the company’s software challenges.

In terms of responsible use, Cerence has imposed limitations on the chatbot’s responses, excluding topics related to profanity, sex, or sensitive matters like the Israel-Hamas War. During CES 2024 testing, the chatbot also refrained from answering questions that could potentially promote or criticize other automakers.

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