Volkswagen Group China has invested $180m into artificial intelligence start up Mobvoi, and entered a strategic partnership.

The funds will be used to develop a joint venture between Volkswagen Group China Investment and Mobvoi to further AI technology across the VW brands in China. Volkswagen said it will use Mobvoi’s technology, such as voice recognition, to explore smart mobility.

Jochen Heizman, president and chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group China said: “This partnership is a particular example of Volkswagen’s determination to work with ground-breaking Chinese tech companies like Mobvoi to create new forms of people-oriented mobility technology.

“We are impressed by Mobvoi’s innovative approach of AI technologies, and we are pleased to form this joint venture to explore the next generation of smart mobility.”

The joint venture will see Volkswagen and Mobvoi develop products such as smart rearview mirrors, instant messaging, and point of interest search, features which Volkswagen said are required for developing autonomous driving.

Zhifei Li, Mobvoi’s founder and chief executive officer, said: “Mobvoi’s mission has always been re-defining the next generation human-machine interaction and this joint venture will provide us a new platform to do so together with Volkswagen Group.

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“Mobvoi will keep developing cutting edge AI technologies and look forward to bringing car owners the unparalleled user experience.”