At CES 2024, Volkswagen announced that it will integrate ChatGPT into the voice-recognition systems of some future vehicles, something the automaker claims will provide greater functionality than standard voice recognition. ChatGPT is scheduled to become available in the second quarter of 2024 and is “being considered for the U.S.,” according to a VW press release.
VW is using Cerence Chat Pro to integrate ChatGPT, which will allow drivers to access the chatbot without having to separately activate it, create a separate account from the one associated with their car’s user profile, or install a separate app. Voice recognition will still work as it does in current VW models — where it’s already used for climate control, infotainment, and navigation functions — but it will now be able to answer general knowledge questions with answers sourced from ChatGPT. This won’t give ChatGPT access to vehicle data, and questions and answers will be “deleted immediately,” according to VW.
VW plans to roll out ChatGPT on the ID.3, ID.4, ID.5, and ID.7 EVs, as well as updated versions of the Golf, Passat, and Tiguan. The ID.4 is already on sale in the U.S., while the ID.7 is expected to arrive at U.S. dealerships later this year (the other two ID models were never intended for the U.S. market). The Passat is no longer sold here, but the updated version of the Tiguan is expected to arrive later this year. VW only sells the GTI and Golf R performance versions of the Golf here, so they likely be getting ChatGPT as well in the U.S.
While it claims to be the first “volume manufacturer” to offer ChatGPT as a standard feature, VW isn’t the first automaker to add the chatbot to its infotainment systems. Mercedes-Benz announced in June that it would bring ChatGPT voice control to its cars. But Mercedes is a luxury brand, so VW argues that it’s moving things forward by bringing this tech to less affluent car buyers.
“Volkswagen has always democratized technology and made it accessible to the many,” Kai Grünitz, VW board member for technical development, said in a statement. “This also underlines the innovative strength of our new products.”