Volkswagen Group has established the separate company AI Lab aimed at developing products powered by artificial intelligence for vehicles and the vehicle environment.
As the name suggests, the business is an AI R&D center similar to the more widely known OpenAI, and according to VW Group it will operate as a sort of incubator to identify and develop new product ideas in the area of AI that can be used across the automaker’s brands.
VW Group said it is also open to licensing the technology to other companies.
VW Group, which has been plagued by software delays in recent years, said the AI Lab will help digital products be developed faster. Key to this will be closer cooperation with technology companies. VW Group said exploratory talks on the first products are already underway with some companies.
Volkswagen Group establishes AI Lab for artificial intelligence programs
“Collaboration with technology companies is crucially important for us,” Oliver Blume, VW Group’s CEO, said in a statement. “In future, we intend to simplify cooperation in organizational and cultural terms.”
AI is hailed by some as the next big thing in digital technology, and potentially more transformational to society than the Internet. It is already making its way into cars. The Volkswagen brand has integrated OpenAI’s ChatGPT AI system with the voice assistant of the updated 2025 Golf range, and BMW announced at last month’s 2024 CES that it plans to introduce soon a next-generation voice assistant that integrates Amazon Alexa.
AI can be used for much more than voice assistants in vehicles. Beyond new applications for infotainment and navigation, AI can also support more specific functions for the vehicle like optimized charging cycles for electric vehicles, predictive maintenance and diagnostic checks, and the networking of vehicles with external digital ecosystems, such as those of a mobile phone, smart home, or in the case of an EV, a smart grid.