Volkswagen integrates OpenAI's ChatGPT into its upcoming lineup of vehicles to act as a 'copilot' (not that one)

ChatGPT-powered Volkswagen car
(Image credit: Bing Image Creator | Kevin Okemwa)

What you need to know

  • At CES 2024, Volkswagen announced its plans to integrate ChatGPT into several of its upcoming vehicles. 
  • The company intends to integrate the chatbot into its IDA voice assistant to assist with navigation and infotainment controls.
  • Privacy and security remain the company's priority, promising that the driver's data and credentials will remain private and protected.

Last year was pretty huge for generative AI, as it was used to make significant breakthroughs across various fields, including medicineeducation, politics, and more.

Microsoft is among the main beneficiaries of this technology, following its multi-billion dollar investment in OpenAI. As you'd expect, the technology is more widespread than ever. 

Earlier today, while at CES 2024 in Las Vegas, German automobile manufacturer Volkswagen just announced its plans to integrate OpenAI's AI-powered chatbot, ChatGPT, across several of its upcoming vehicles, including the ID.7, ID.4, ID.5, ID.3, the new Tiguan, Passat, and Golf, according to a spot by GadgetsBoy

The automobile industry is ever-evolving, especially with the existence of self-driving cars, electronic vehicles, and more. There's more potential to be explored in the space, as highlighted by Kai Grünitz, a Member of the Board of Management at Volkswagen Brand for Technical Development:

"Volkswagen has always democratized technology and made it accessible to the many. This is simply ingrained in our DNA. As a result, we are now the first volume manufacturer to make this innovative technology a standard feature in vehicles from the compact segment upwards. Thanks to the seamless integration of ChatGPT and strong collaboration with our partner, Cerence, we are offering our drivers added value and direct access to the AI-based research tool. This also underlines the innovative strength of our new products."

According to Volkswagen, ChatGPT will be integrated into its already existing IDA voice assistant, complementing the Cerence Chat Pro technology. As such, the driver will be able to interact with the chatbot through the IDA software. The chatbot will especially come in handy when it comes to navigation, infotainment, and other basic controls such as air conditioning.

Volkswagen confirmed that the driver's data and credentials will remain private and protected, as the chatbot won't have access to this information or even the vehicle's details. What's more, the questions and answers will be wiped out immediately; they are no longer needed to promote privacy and security further. It's worth noting no app installation or account creation will be required to access the feature. A simple "Hello IDA" will suffice. 

Gearing up for a world with AI-powered vehicles

TomTom AI-powered assistant

(Image credit: Bing Image Creator | Windows Central)

AI in automobiles isn't a phenomenon. Last year, Microsoft and OpenAI started testing the integration of ChatGPT into Mercedes-Benz cars to bring a "human-like" dialog to the driving experience. However, this functionality was limited to vehicles with an MBUX "infotainment" system.

Elsewhere, Microsoft and TomTom announced their new partnership aimed at bringing an AI-powered assistant with a "more sophisticated voice interaction" appeal to the vehicle's infotainment system. If this is anything to go by, we're likely to see more companies embrace generative AI and ultimately incorporate the technology into their lineup. 

What are your thoughts on car manufacturers embracing AI technology in their vehicles? Let us know in the comments.

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.