Voice assistant Alexa will be able to customize for different companiesJanuary 18, 2021
Amazon opens Alexa so that automakers can build their own voice assistants based on it.
Amazon online store announced the opening of its Alexa voice assistant so other companies can create their own versions for their devices and cars.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) said this week that it will be the first automaker to create an Alexa Custom Assistant, and others will surely follow. This should be good news for those already accustomed to Amazon Alexa as a home assistant. While Alexa is already available in some vehicles for tasks like paying for gas, it’s usually used in conjunction with the automaker’s own voice assistant.
With this new solution, automakers can create their own in-car voice assistants, like the ones we saw in Mercedes MBUX and BMW Personal Intelligent Assistance, without having to start from scratch or go through the intensive development associated with constantly updating the voice assistant system. And yes, that means different car manufacturers can create their own voice assistant characters and wake words. So in addition to being able to say “Alexa, adjust the temperature,” FCA can set up one just for the Jeep, which will have its own voice and wake-up word so drivers can say, “Jeep, how far is Lake Tahoe?”
FCA and others can also create their own capabilities within the Alexa framework. For example, the Jeep could be ordered to turn on the front camera when driving off-road, and the Chrysler Pacifica minivan could be given a voice command that opens all sliding doors. Basically, these are two voice assistants working side-by-side inside the system, one from Amazon and the automaker’s Alexa Custom Assistant, with the system directing requests to the right digital assistant.
FCA, without providing a launch date or details on which vehicles will get the feature, have confirmed that the technology will be built into its Uconnect infotainment system, where the two assistants will work side-by-side. FCA will “act as a product specialist with vehicle-specific features and capabilities,” leaving Alexa to perform its normal duties, such as receiving music requests, answering weather questions, and controlling smart home functions.
As you would expect, any voice assistant will be able to order items on Amazon. The system will also be able to tell the driver when the vehicle is running out of washer fluid, for example, to either schedule a trip to the service center or order more fluid, of course, through their Amazon account.
- Auto show in Shanghai not without incident
- Wuling Mini EV Cabrio goes into series production
- Electric car Honda e turned into a drag racing car
- Genesis unveils electric version of the Genesis G80 sedan
- Nissan updated its Leaf electric car