With the planned acquisition, CARIAD strengthens its expertise in the development of digital voice assistants based on artificial intelligence.
CARIAD, the software company of the Volkswagen Group, plans to acquire AI specialist paragon semvox and today signed the corresponding purchase agreement with automotive supplier paragon. With the acquisition, CARIAD is strengthening its competencies in the field of digital voice assistants based on artificial intelligence. CARIAD is already working on a digital assistant that will offer Volkswagen Group customers a personalized and attractive digital experience in the car. The closing of the transaction is still subject to various conditions, in particular the reservation of antitrust approvals, and is expected in spring 2023.
“The car of the future will be automated and connected. The digital experience inside the car is therefore becoming increasingly important,” says Lynn Longo, Chief Technical Officer at CARIAD. “In the future, an intelligently interacting voice assistant will be the central touchpoint for the Group brands to their customers and will play a major role in the user experience. paragon semvox is a proven specialist in voice technology. With the planned acquisition, we are therefore systematically expanding our internal expertise. After all, we want to develop key technologies ourselves that differentiate the Group brands from the competition. The digital customer experience is one of our strategic priorities.”
“With today’s signing of the purchase agreement regarding our software subsidiary semvox, paragon is focusing on solutions in the field of automotive electronics, body kinematics and electromobility, as planned, following the sale of its stake in Voltabox AG last year,” said Klaus Dieter Frers, Founder and CEO of paragon GmbH & Co. KGaA, explaining the strategic reasons. “
In addition, we are sustainably strengthening paragon’s financial power with the proceeds from the sale.” CARIAD and paragon agreed on a purchase price in the mid double-digit million range.
paragon semvox offers AI-based solutions for voice control and human-machine interaction and has been supplying the Volkswagen Group as its main customer for years. The acquisition strengthens CARIAD’s development expertise in this important area. CARIAD is developing a digital assistant for the Volkswagen Group brands that customers can control using spoken words and that will also interpret and respond to facial expressions and glances in the future. Thanks to artificial intelligence, the assistant will proactively speak with customers and anticipate their wishes. When customers get into the car in the morning, for example, the digital assistant can proactively offer to navigate them to work, make a coffee stop, dial into the first meeting, play their favorite music or entertain their children with games.
paragon semvox becomes a 100% subsidiary
After completion of the acquisition, paragon semvox GmbH will become a wholly owned subsidiary of CARIAD SE. Currently, more than 140 employees work at the semvox sites in Limbach and Nuremberg. All jobs will be retained. The paragon development teams in India and China will also continue to support semvox.
Dr. Norbert Pfleger, CEO of paragon semvox and one of its founders, emphasizes: “The past four years in the paragon group have already enabled us to grow strongly. However, the acquisition by CARIAD now allows us to shape the next generation of AI assistants at an even greater speed. For our employees, this provides continuity as well as the opportunity to work with CARIAD on one of the most exciting digital ecosystems for the automotive sector. Our current business relationships with our customers are not affected by the transaction and will remain in place.”
CARIAD is pursuing the goal of developing key technologies itself: “On our growth path, we are gradually expanding our expertise in strategically important and competitively relevant areas. In addition to recruiting tech talent, we are focusing on acquisitions and partnerships,” says Thomas Sedran, Chief Financial Officer at CARIAD. “With the acquisition of semvox, we are continuing this strategy. As a tech partner, we enable the Group brands to offer their customers an attractive digital experience in the software-defined car and to shape it in a target group-specific way.”