Amazon will present an in-car gadget, the Echo Auto, at an event on September 20, 2018
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Amazon wants to make it easier for automakers to bring voice assistants into their vehicles.
The company announced on Friday a new service – Alexa Custom Assistant – that allows automakers to develop their own digital assistant based on Amazon’s Alexa voice-controlled technology.
Although based on Amazon technology, automakers can customize their digital assistants to their liking by setting unique wake-up words, voices, skills, and abilities like search, traffic updates, and navigation.
The cost of developing a smart assistant that uses the service will vary depending on the device or vehicle, customer use cases, and language needs, according to Amazon.
According to Amazon, the solution is intended to eliminate some of the challenges associated with building its own digital assistant technology for a company. This can be costly and time consuming. Automakers who use this service can also leverage “tens of thousands of Alexa skills and integrations” such as smart home, entertainment, and shopping.
The offering is the latest example of Amazon’s efforts to extend the reach of Alexa beyond voice-activated smart speakers. The company has built the digital assistant into a number of devices across the home, including microwaves, clocks, and smart plugs.
In recent years, Amazon has set a goal of working with automakers to bring Alexa to the streets by either embedding the digital assistant in vehicles or activating simpler features, such as: B. the possibility that owners lock the vehicle doors with voice commands from home. In January last year, Amazon released an edition of its Fire TV streaming service for backrest screens.
Amazon faces competition from Silicon Valley companies such as Apple and Google, who are also trying to convince automakers to integrate their technologies into infotainment systems in the car. To date, Amazon has partnered with a growing list of automakers including General Motors, Ford, BMW, Audi, Toyota, Hyundai, and Nissan.
Fiat Chrysler, which previously worked with Amazon to bring its technology to vehicles, will be the first automaker to develop its own digital assistant through Alexa Custom Assistant, Amazon said. Alexa Custom Assistant will be integrated into select Fiat Chrysler vehicles through its infotainment system for cars, Uconnect 5.