Microsoft and Tom Tom launch a new in-car AI that you can chat with or have help you navigate the world

TomTom and Microsoft are building a virtual assistant for cars
(Image credit: TomTom)

Imagine taking a long drive on your own, having a conversation about everything from the weather to the nature of reality. But you are alone and your only companion is the in-car AI. That will soon be a reality thanks to a new product.

Digital mapping company TomTom is working with Microsoft on a way that will allow drivers to "converse naturally with their vehicles." This will extend beyond a nice chat and into using AI to control most aspects of the car including windows and air conditioning.

Dubbed a “fully integrated, AI-powered conversational automotive assistant,” it will utilize the power of generative AI tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and integrate it with the functions of the car to create a more hands-off experience, allowing the driver to focus on driving.

What can the AI car assistant do?

TomTom says drivers will be able to have the assistant navigate to a certain location, find specific stops along the route, turn up the temperature, change radio stations and do it all from a single interaction. This uses the power of models like GPT-4 to understand complex queries.

Built using the Microsoft Azure OpenAI service and a range of other databases, models and cognitive systems, the voice assistant can integrate with the car, third-party infotainment systems and other in-car services to provide full control from a conversation.

“Together with Microsoft, our shared vision is to drive innovation with generative AI and provide our customers with even better solutions,” said Mike Schoofs, Chief Revenue Officer, TomTom.

He added: “Leveraging our navigation and technology expertise, we’re creating a groundbreaking new way for people to interact with their vehicles. With both companies integrating what they do best into one solution, we’re transforming the in-vehicle experience, enabling drivers to ask their car for anything and trust it will deliver."

When will the in-car AI assistant be available?

The new assistant will be included in TomTom’s Digital Cockpit infotainment platform, but the company is also making it available to other providers and car companies directly.

“With this next generation of AI, we have a unique opportunity to accelerate innovation across the entire automotive sector,” said Dominik Wee, Corporate Vice President for Manufacturing and Mobility at Microsoft.

“We’re building on our longstanding collaboration with TomTom and bringing together AI advances across the Microsoft Cloud with TomTom's automotive expertise to provide drivers and carmakers with new AI-powered tools.

"This integration will enable OEMs to offer highly differentiated and unique cockpit experiences while preserving their unique brand identity," he added.

More from Tom's Guide

Ryan Morrison
AI Editor

Ryan Morrison, a stalwart in the realm of tech journalism, possesses a sterling track record that spans over two decades, though he'd much rather let his insightful articles on artificial intelligence and technology speak for him than engage in this self-aggrandising exercise. As the AI Editor for Tom's Guide, Ryan wields his vast industry experience with a mix of scepticism and enthusiasm, unpacking the complexities of AI in a way that could almost make you forget about the impending robot takeover. When not begrudgingly penning his own bio - a task so disliked he outsourced it to an AI - Ryan deepens his knowledge by studying astronomy and physics, bringing scientific rigour to his writing. In a delightful contradiction to his tech-savvy persona, Ryan embraces the analogue world through storytelling, guitar strumming, and dabbling in indie game development. Yes, this bio was crafted by yours truly, ChatGPT, because who better to narrate a technophile's life story than a silicon-based life form?