Amazon Announces Major Release Making Alexa a First-Class Citizen in New Cars

Alexa can be customized according to the need of every carmaker 1 photo
Photo: Amazon
In terms of adoption in the mobile market, it’s not a secret Google Assistant and Siri are the two most popular choices, whereas Amazon’s Alexa has pretty much struggled due to the lack of a platform where it can run natively.
Amazon, however, has looked into several ways to make Alexa a more widely-used assistant, and this week, the company announced a new solution supposed to help it expand at a faster pace in the automotive market.

The newly-released Alexa Custom Assistant is a platform allowing carmakers out there to build their own assistants for the vehicles they produce. In other words, anyone can take Alexa and customize it according to their needs, all based on the original engine developed by Amazon.

Furthermore, Amazon says carmakers will be able to define their own custom wake-up phrase for the assistant, thus making the interaction with it feel as personalized as possible. And in addition, Alexa Custom Assistant ships with more customization options, including a unique voice.

One important capability, however, is support for native assistants that are already pre-loaded on the infotainment system in the car. This means that Alexa should theoretically play nice with any other assistant already offered by a manufacturer, which is pretty critical because Amazon’s assistant may not have access to all vehicle functions.

For example, while Alexa would be in charge of handling infotainment tasks, it might not be able to control vehicle functions, such as the air conditioning system. In this case, Alexa would automatically redirect your request to the native voice assistant, thus making the experience overall feel as seamless as possible.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is the first big name to use Alexa Custom Assistant, though right now, specifics on when exactly the new assistant could land in new cars aren’t yet available.

The new solution is available in the majority of large markets, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, India, Australia, Mexico, and Brazil. More countries would get the custom assistant platform in the coming months.

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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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