Car maker Volkswagen is partnering with Chinese tech company Mobvoi to develop and implement artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in cars.
Volkswagen China Investment will invest $180m into Mobvoi, a start-up that is already backed by Google and Sequoia Capital. The latest investment values the company at just under $1bn.
As part of the deal, Mobvoi will provide the voice recognition, natural language processing technologies, and search capabilities, while VW will provide the platform for these technologies to be incorporated into its range of vehicles.
The new joint venture will develop products for VW Group models as well as other brands - with initial products including Mobvoi's existing smart rearview mirror, which provides navigation, search functions, instant messaging and voice-activated information capabilities.
VW said that AI is a key component behind the development of autonomous driving, and that the Mobvoi deal would help it to make using many of the features built-in to modern cars easier and more convenient.
However, despite the VW Group having a global presence, the terms of the deal mean that only car owners in China will get access to the AI technologies.
Nevertheless, the company itself hasn't necessarily embraced every modern technology fad. The company revealed in 2015 that it preferred to keep its operational technology in-house, eschewing cloud computing on data privacy and security grounds.
It has, though, embraced DevOps, adopting the Mirantis distribution of OpenStack last year in order to support faster development cycles.
Finally, of course, Volkswagen is one of many companies researching and developing driverless vehicle technologies, both in Germany and around the world.
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