Amazon is promising to make it easy for car manufacturers to integrate its Alexa voice control digital assistant into new cars, with the launch of its Alexa Auto SDK (software development kit).
It’s taking Alexa on the road, with Amazon adding automotive-specific functions and a user experience tailored to the vehicle. If you can’t bear the thought of leaving the home without Alexa to help you through the day, this will be music to your ears.
The core Alexa functionality remains, such as speech recognition and synthesis, along with media streaming, smartphone control, notifications and weather reports.
In addition, Alexa Auto will enable drivers to instruct the car’s native calling service to place a call, stream music via Amazon Music, Audible and iHeartRadio, receive turn-by-turn navigation instructions, and the ability to search for local points of interest.
— Alexa Developers (@alexadevs) August 9, 2018
“Alexa, find the nearest grocery store.” “Alexa, find me a hotel room.” “Alexa, find the nearest Chinese restaurant.” “Alexa, find the nearest place to deposit my brain.”
The news follows SEAT’s announcement that it’s the first automotive brand in Europe to launch Amazon Alexa in cars. “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.”
Aftermarket kits on the way
We can expect to see Alexa appearing in more cars by the end of the year, with Toyota including Alexa in its Entune 3.0 infotainment system. Panasonic is adding Alexa to its future in-car infotainment systems, while Anker and Garmin are working on aftermarket devices designed for older vehicles.
“Alexa, what happened to the days of the radio-cassette player?”
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