Seat is the first automotive brand in Europe to launch Amazon Alexa in its cars. The cloud-based voice control system will give users the ability to change music, manage personal schedules, get directions and more.
Alexa, launched in 2014, has accrued more than 45,000 ‘skills’ via the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) with which developers have actively worked to grow Alexa’s range of abilities.
Seat claims the integration of Amazon Alexa should make using the car’s features safer, too. The usual multi-step navigation process of button-pressing and menu-jumping is reduced to a simple press of the control button followed by a vocal command for Alexa to follow. Great, if it works…
The availability of the service goes back to cars manufactured after May of 2018 (MY19 cars) and fitted with Sat Nav High, so if you’ve already taken delivery of your car but it’s still fresh out the box, there’s a chance you can get Alexa.
Finding a balance
Much like Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto, Amazon Alexa could serve as the purpose-made replacement for features that in-house development couldn’t fully realise. Voice control has been around in cars for years, as have multi-media interfaces. Only recently has the integration of systems from dedicated technology companies elevated in-car media experiences up to the standards we enjoy on our other devices.
Alexa will hopefully do the same thing for voice control as smart UIs did for in-car entertainment.
“As functionality and connectivity levels increase, we have to find a balance between usability and safety. Introducing Amazon Alexa helps us find that balance,” said Seat president Luca de Meo.
“With just a tap of the steering wheel, customers will be able to ask Alexa for music, points of interest and much more without taking eyes off the road.”
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