The Volkswagen Group has established a specialized company – AI Lab – to help develop new infotainment and navigation applications, high-performance speech recognition, extended vehicle functions and better integration of digital ecosystems within its vehicles. VW says this will benefit customers and enhance the product experience.
The new company will act as a globally networked competence center and incubator. It will identify new product ideas for VW and coordinate them internally within the group. This will include collaboration with the tech sector in Europe, China and North America.
By adopting this approach, the Volkswagen Group says it intends to simplify collaboration with technology companies to make optimum use of the innovation potential and speed of the AI sector. The objective is to rapidly develop digital prototypes and transfer them to the group brands for implementation.
“We want to offer our customers genuine added value with artificial intelligence. We aim to link external digital ecosystems with the vehicle, creating an even better product experience,” explained Oliver Blume, CEO of the Volkswagen Group and Porsche AG. “Collaboration with technology companies is crucially important for us. In the future, we intend to simplify cooperation in organizational and cultural terms.”
Among other items, Volkswagen says it sees considerable potential in high-performance speech recognition and services that connect users’ digital environments with the vehicle. Extended vehicle functions will be equally important. These can include AI-optimized charging cycles for electric vehicles, predictive maintenance and the networking of vehicles with infrastructure, such as customers’ own homes (‘smart home’).
AI Lab will not manufacture production models but will serve as an incubator for the Volkswagen Group. The company will identify new product ideas connected with artificial intelligence throughout the world. AI Lab will then develop the most promising concepts – together with partners where the need arises – to produce early prototypes. AI Lab will have a team of artificial intelligence experts and will work closely with all the brands. High-ranking representatives of the brand groups will form the supervisory board.
“With our new AI Lab, we are combining technological expertise, flexibility and speed in collaboration with external partners,” added Michael Steiner, head of research and development at the Volkswagen Group and a member of the executive board, research and development of Porsche AG. “This will be crucial in the highly dynamic AI sector. We will pursue highly promising initiatives in the marketplace, together with partners where this is necessary, irrespective of existing arrangements and other links in series production.”
Exploratory talks on the first products are already underway with international tech companies.
For more AI news, please click here.