Artificial Intelligence is one of the most powerful forces shaping modern industries, and in acknowledgment of that, Volkswagen has announced a partnership with NVIDIA to increase its machine learning prowess and help to enhance the development of comprehensive AI solutions to be integrated into various functions across Volkswagen’s full range of vehicles. The press release on the matter was a bit sparse on details of exactly what future projects were planned, with Volkswagen CIO Dr. Martin Hofmann saying that AI was “the key to the digital future of the Volkswagen Group,” and promising to research possible use cases and expand “expert knowledge” at the company’s disposal.
Alongside announcing a partnership with NVIDIA in its own AI development efforts, Volkswagen announced that the partnership will extend to an AI incubator within the company’s Data Lab. The program will admit qualified startups working on their own machine learning solutions for real-world problems, with funding and other consideration provided by NVIDIA and Volkswagen. Members of the program will receive funding, coaching, access to facilities, and other benefits to make it easier for them to work on whatever AI-related projects that they see fit to work on. The initial run of the program will begin in the fall. A similar program aimed at students instead of startups, called the Summer of Code, will target students in IT, mathematics, and physics, and allow them to come together to work on robotics and AI projects.
Though Volkswagen’s press release may have been on the vague side, it’s not hard to see the possibilities for AI systems in the infrastructure of an auto company and its products. Well-made AI could help Volkswagen to make their mark in the self-driving car field, a field that it’s already taken the first step into by unveiling its fully automated Sedric concept car back in May. AI could also enhance robotics on the production line, making things safer and more efficient, and perhaps even helping bots to deal with issues that would normally require human intervention. NVIDIA has a distinguished pedigree in AI, and a history of teaming up with auto companies for solutions like autonomous and assisted driving, and other computerized in-car systems.