Volkswagen is bringing the internet-famous artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot ChatGPT to the infotainment system of its cars. It sounds pretty cool, but there are also some privacy issues that need to be addressed, so let’s see what this automotive-grade ChatGPT integration is all about.

The feature is set to debut at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It will come as standard on the latest generation of VW’s infotainment system on the ID.3, ID.4, ID.5, and ID.7 EVs, as well as on the all-new Tiguan and refreshed Golf starting in the second quarter of 2024. That said, availability in the United States is still under consideration, so don’t expect to channel your inner geek anytime soon if you’re living in the U.S.

Get Fully Charged

Answer anything while driving your new Volkswagen and ChatGPT answers

Volkswagen is the first volume carmaker to integrate an automotive-grade version of the internet-famous ChatGPT artificial intelligence chatbot. Think of it like Siri for your car: you can ask your car pretty much anything and the system will provide an audible answer through the car's speakers.

But while ChatGPT made a name for itself by trying to solve complex maths problems, writing essays, producing programming code, and occasionally raising eyebrows after providing questionable answers to relatively simple questions, its role in Volkswagen's upcoming cars is more restrained.

The chatbot will be integrated into VW’s current IDA voice assistant, which can answer simple questions and requests like changing the climate control temperature or setting a destination on the navigation system, all hands-free. But when IDA hits a roadblock, the request is forwarded anonymously to ChatGPT and the same Volkswagen voice responds.

The German automaker says that the chatbot doesn’t gain any access to vehicle data and that questions and answers are deleted immediately to ensure “the highest level of data protection.” VW says it’s the first volume manufacturer to integrate an automotive-grade version of ChatGPT into its cars, a feat that was made possible by U.S.-based automotive AI software provider Cerence.

Volkswagen Golf with ChatGPT integration

Volkswagen Golf with ChatGPT integration

"We are proud to build on our automotive expertise and our long-standing partnership with Volkswagen to offer its customers new innovations that leverage generative AI and large language models—even after they have purchased a vehicle," said Stefan Ortmanns, CEO of Cerence. “With Cerence Chat Pro, VW is empowered with an automotive-grade ChatGPT integration that offers unmatched flexibility, customisation, and ease of deployment, while prioritising security and usability for drivers. As we look to the future, together Volkswagen and Cerence will explore collaboration to design a new, large language model (LLM)-based user experience as the basis of Volkswagen’s next-generation in-car assistant.“

Think of it like Apple’s Siri but for your car. One could theoretically ask anything and get a reply from ChatGPT’s servers in a matter of seconds, which is sure to liven up a boring road trip where there’s nothing to do but stare out the window.