VW Teams With Mobvoi to Improve In-Car Artificial Intelligence

Volkswagen is partnering with Chinese tech company Mobvoi to bring AI to infotainment systems.

Volkswagen

Voice-recognition systems are far from perfect. They require very specific commands, and if you have any sort of accent, you're usually in trouble. Volkswagen believes the solution to this problem is artificial intelligence.

AI like you'd see in a sci-fi movie doesn't really exist, but VW seems to think something like it can be developed to improve in-car infotainment systems. The German automaker is partnering with Chinese tech company Mobvoi on an AI development project that will primarily focus on the Chinese market.

Mobvoi already has a foothold in the automotive sector. The company has developed a rearview mirror that integrates voice controls for navigation, media, and instant messaging, according to Engadget. This device may be added to future Chinese-market Volkswagen models, and the automaker hopes to develop other tech based on Mobvoi's voice-recognition systems.

The partnership will take the form of a 50/50 joint venture, and VW will invest $180 million. It will develop tech for "a wide range of Volkswagen Group models, as well as other brands," according to a company press release. While developments will initially apply to China, Jochem Heizmann, VW Group's China CEO, said they could eventually be applied globally.

Whether it's true artifical intelligence or just a more sophisticated voice-recognition system, there remains room for improvement when it comes to infotainment controls. The Mobvoi joint venture could also help Volkswagen gain an advantage in China, which is now the world's largest new-car market.