Home » VW Will Be The First Carmaker To Offer Integrated ChatGPT After All None Of You Demanded It

VW Will Be The First Carmaker To Offer Integrated ChatGPT After All None Of You Demanded It

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Quick, when you think of features you want in your next car, what is it you want most? Better handling, more efficiency, sumptuous comfort, great acceleration, seamless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration? Of course not, that’s all bullshit, isn’t it? What you want is to be able, with a simple spoken command, to demand your car write a fully-fleshed out Family Guy spec script using the power of AI! Right? Isn’t that what you want? Or to hear answers to questions and know that those answers might actually not be right? That seems to be what Volkswagen thinks people want, because I’m not sure why anyone would want ChatGPT integration in their cars, which is what VW is premiering at CES later this month.

Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe there are twos or more people who find that having ChatGPT access on their phones and laptops isn’t enough, and they need it integrated into their cars as well. I mean, VW’s implementation is voice-activated, which is something. Here, this is how VW’s press release describes it:

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Wolfsburg—At CES 2024, the world’s leading electronics trade fair from January 9 to 12, Volkswagen will present the first vehicles in which the artificial-intelligence-based chatbot ChatGPT is integrated into its IDA voice assistant. In the future, customers will have seamless access to the constantly growing artificial intelligence database in all Volkswagen models equipped with the IDA voice assistant and have researched content read out to them while driving. Cerence Chat Pro from technology partner Cerence Inc. is the foundation of the new function, which offers a uniquely intelligent, automotive-grade
ChatGPT integration. Volkswagen is the first volume manufacturer that will offer Chat GPT as a standard feature from the second quarter of 2024 in many production vehicles. The feature is being considered for the United States.

The ChatGPT integration will be available on ID.7, ID.4, ID.5, ID.3, the all-new Tiguan, the all-new Passat, and the new Golf. Since just what the hell one would want to do with car-integrated ChatGPT is still somewhat lost on me, I decided to ask ChatGPT:

  • 1. Hands-free communication: ChatGPT can enable drivers to interact with their vehicles using voice commands, allowing for a safer and more convenient driving experience.2. Personalized assistance: ChatGPT can provide personalized recommendations, suggestions, and information based on individual preferences, such as navigation assistance, music selection, or restaurant recommendations.3. Natural language interaction: ChatGPT’s ability to understand and respond to natural language queries can make it easier for drivers to access information, control vehicle settings, or perform tasks without the need for complex menus or interfaces.4. Entertainment and productivity: ChatGPT can offer entertainment options like playing music, audiobooks, or podcasts, as well as providing access to productivity tools like calendar management, reminders, or voice-controlled messaging.5. Enhanced driving experience: By integrating with various vehicle systems, ChatGPT can potentially enhance the overall driving experience by providing real-time traffic updates, weather information, or even proactive maintenance reminders.

    It’s important to note that the desire for ChatGPT in cars may vary among individuals, and preferences can be influenced by factors such as technological comfort, privacy concerns, and the availability of alternative solutions.

Huh. Okay, those are not a bad set of reasons, except, of course, like all things from ChatGPT, there’s no way to confirm if any of them are, you know, true. Still, in this case, ChatGPT got lucky, as a number of those reasons are very close to what VW describes in the press release:

For example, the IDA voice assistant can be used, for example, to control the infotainment, navigation and air conditioning, or to answer general knowledge questions. In the future, AI will provide additional information in response to questions that go beyond this as part of its continuously expanding capabilities. This can be helpful on many levels during a car journey: Enriching conversations, clearing  up questions, interacting in intuitive language, receiving vehicle-specific information, and much more—purely hands-free.

A lot of this sounds like a combination of current voice command sort of stuff along with, it seems, a way to talk to your car if you’re lonely and bored on a drive. Or, “enriching” you conversations with your MeatGPT-enabled human friends. I bet that’s going to be great, and not just something you play with a few times in the first three months you own the car and then forget about.

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[Ed Note: Jason has strong feelings about ChatGPT, though when I read this, I just think VW is adding an intelligent “assistant” to its cars. Doesn’t seem like a terrible thing, but how it’s executed will be key. -DT]. 

Golfrear

When we first saw this press release, a lot of my colleagues were tempted to make Herbie the Love Bug references, something that I think would have been woefully misguided. You see, Herbie is inherently and distinctly non-verbal, where ChatGPT is completely verbal. Herbie was more akin to a highly intelligent and emotional animal with an iron will than a human. A better analogy would be KITT, the very loquacious Trans Am from Knight Riderbut KITT wasn’t a VW, at least not openly.

Regardless of how or why VW decided to do this, the good news is they at least seem to be taking privacy seriously:

ChatGPT does not gain any access to vehicle data; questions and answers are deleted immediately to ensure the highest possible level of data protection. This is facilitated by Cerence Chat Pro, which leverages a multitude of sources, including ChatGPT, to enable IDA to provide relevant responses to nearly every query imaginable.

It’s good that questions and answers asked of the ChatGPT are deleted immediately; anything that you wouldn’t absolutely want deleted immediately is probably a boring question or whatever, anyway.

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I’m still not convinced that anyone was really clamoring for a ChatGPT-enabled car, and all of this does feel like a shameless bit of hopping on whatever dumb tech bandwagon is currently being talked about. I was going to say it’s not hurting anyone, but the truth is ChatGPT will tell you things that aren’t true, with full, unearned confidence. It lies. I’m not sure I need something else in my car that lies.

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bmw325_num99
bmw325_num99
3 months ago

If you had posted this 10 weeks ago I would have agreed “who cares”. However, using Amazon Alexa in my car as I drive has been surprisingly useful. “Find a restaurant with a kids playground” What is 230 miles divided by 90 gallons?”, “Tell the kids a funny story” and so on. Even if we dont NEED anything from Alexa, we still ask her questions just to test her out like “solve the system of equations y=10+x x=2y+2” or “what is the fastest suv top speed” etc etc. Love this.

SG
SG
3 months ago

“Hey Chat GPT, make up an excuse for me why I’m late getting to work and text it to my boss. Say traffic or something about all the people on the road.”

Chat GPT: “Mr. Boss. I must bring an urgent matter to your attention. This morning I shall be late due to the human trafficking of which I have no control over and of which I am quite guilty. Good day sir.” Message sent.

Jb996
Jb996
3 months ago

I’m late to the party and no one will see this, but…

“automotive-grade ChatGPT integration”
I laughed out loud at this. Automotive grade software? So hopelessly outdated the day it ships, impossible to ever upgrade, never as good as whatever is on your phone, and hopelessly buggy? I’m really not sure I would use that as a selling point…

How many people have EVER said, “This software has problems, too bad it isn’t Automotive-Grade Software.”?

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
3 months ago

Sounds like it’s doing things voice commands already did but using ChatGPT to understand your phrasing. Not having to know the exact phrasing is generally a good thing.
The problem is it’s an online service, but that shouldn’t be a problem because cars are never used in places with poor or no signal…

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
3 months ago

These aren’t the ‘droids you’re looking for.

Myk El
Myk El
3 months ago

I try voice commands on my various devices that support it as I update and it’s never quite as good as I want. Only thing it is consistently good at is “call name” and it’s because I am a bit clever with my contacts, only problem has been it confusing my two friends who’s similar but different names start “Sha.”

Perhaps because I grew up with unforgiving search functions trying to find books in libraries off of ERIC and its Colorado cousin, CARL, I learned to be very specific. It seems the tools now are trying to parse what I meant and not truly listening to what I said.

Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
3 months ago

Maybe it will help me get a deal on a Tahoe

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