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ChatGPT Arriving in Volkswagen EVs Later This Year

Drivers and passengers will soon be able to engage their VW car or SUV in complex or idle chitchat.

2024 Volkswagen ID 7

VW's upcoming ID 7 electric sedan will be among the first to receive ChatGPT-powered voice assistance in the dashboard.

Volkswagen

ChatGPT is hitting the road later this year, thanks to a newly announced partnership between Volkwagen and Cerence to integrate the AI-powered chatbot into the automaker's Ida voice assistant. Among the first vehicles to support ChatGPT natively will be VW's electric ID 4 and ID 3; the upcoming ID 7 and ID 5 EVs; and the combustion-powered Tiguan, Passat and Golf, Volkswagen said at CES 2024.

Currently, the VW Ida assistant can accept voice commands with the "Hey, Ida" voice trigger for functions such as choosing a destination for navigation or adjusting the climate controls. Things like "set the temperature to 72 degrees" or "navigate home" will continue to be handled locally by VW's software. However, starting in the second quarter of 2024, drivers and passengers will be able to ask Ida more-complex, general knowledge questions and receive ChatGPT-powered responses. These complex questions -- things like, "What's a good authentic Chinese restaurant nearby?" or, "Where can I buy a phone charger?" -- will be passed, seamlessly, to the cloud, where they're processed by Cerence's Chat Pro software. Ida will then receive the response and present the information to the passenger within the navigation system.

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Watch this: Hands-On With the First ChatGPT-Enabled Electric Car

Volkswagen also showcased using ChatGPT to generate more-involved and verbose responses. An advertisement previewed at VW's CES press conference featured actor Ewan McGregor in an ID 7 asking if he should wear a kilt to an upcoming event and receiving the response regarding the appropriateness of the garment for formal gatherings. Onstage at the event, VW and Cerence executives asked ChatGPT to answer trivia questions and generate a bedtime story that could entertain a tired child in the back seat. And though I wouldn't want to listen to Ida's robotic voice for the duration of a short story, the results of this "fun and conversational chitchat," as Cerence calls it, are promising.

VW ID 7

The over-the-air update adding ChatGPT to VW's latest EVs and combustion-powered cars is expected to arrive in the second quarter of 2024.

Volkswagen

ChatGPT functionality will arrive in the dashboard of the aforementioned vehicles in Q2 2024 via an over-the-air update. I'm told that the upgrade should be seamless -- there's no change to how the driver interacts with Ida, and there will be no need to set up a ChatGPT account. According to VW, one day soon you'll get in your car and it'll just magically be smarter. 

Going forward, VW and Cerence will continue to collaborate on expanding the scope of what ChatGPT can do in the car and to develop VW's next-generation voice assistant which will, presumably, be even more deeply integrated with voice and AI language models.

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Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
Expertise Reviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainment Credentials
  • North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
Antuan Goodwin
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.

Updated Jan. 8, 2024 9:09 a.m. PT

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Written by  Antuan Goodwin
CNET staff -- not advertisers, partners or business interests -- determine how we review the products and services we cover. If you buy through our links, we may get paid. Reviews ethics statement
antuan-roadshow-headshots-jpegs-1893-007.jpg
Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
Expertise Reviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainment Credentials
  • North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
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