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Amazon Opens Alexa to Let Automakers Make Custom Voice Assistants

Amazon Opens Alexa to Let Automakers Make Custom Voice Assistants
amazon opens alexa to let automakers make custom voice assistants
amazon
  • amazon announces that alexa can be customized by companies for their own use, and fiat chrysler automobiles (fca) is the first automaker planning to use it.
  • the automaker's custom voice assistant with its own custom features will work side by side with the alexa voice assistant.
  • fca hasn't announced which vehicles will get the new alexa/fca voice assistant system first or how soon it will be available as part of the automaker's uconnect infotainment system.

    online retailer amazon has announced it's opening up its alexa voice assistant so other companies can make their own customized versions for their devices and vehicles. fiat chrysler automobiles (fca) said this week that it will be the first automaker to create an alexa custom assistant, with others sure to follow. that should be good news for those who have already become used to amazon’s alexa voice assistant as an at-home helper. for tasks from controlling devices and checking on the weather to answering questions and reading books aloud, alexa's place in the home is well established at this point. although alexa is already available in some vehicles for tasks such as to pay for gas, but it's usually alongside an automaker's own voice assistant.

    with this new solution, automakers can create their own in-car voice assistants like those we've seen in mercedes’s mbux and bmw’s personal intelligent assistance without having to start from scratch or deal with the intense development of constantly having to update the voice assistant system themselves. and yes, this means that different automakers can create their own voice-assistant persona and wake word. so in addition to the ability to say, "alexa, adjust the temperature," fca could set up one just for jeep that would have its own voice and wake word so drivers could say, "jeep, how far to lake tahoe?"

    fca and others could also create custom capabilities within the alexa framework. for example, a jeep could be told to turn on the front camera while driving off-road, or a chrysler pacifica minivan could have a voice command that opens all the sliding doors. it’s essentially two voice assistants working side by side inside the system: the one from amazon and the automaker's alexa custom assistant, with the system directing queries to the correct digital helper.

    fca, while not giving a launch date or specifics on which vehicles will get this capability, confirmed that the technology will be built into its uconnect infotainment system, where it will employ the two assistants side by side. fca's will "act as the product specialist with features and capabilities specific to the vehicle," leaving alexa to handle its usual duties such as taking music requests, answering questions about weather, and controlling smart-home features.

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    this amazon video demo shows a driver asking alexa for parking and the alexa voice deferring to a vehicle's brand voice assistant, named brandon (created specifically for the demo only), who answers the query for the driver.

    as you would expect, either voice assistant will be able to order items from amazon. the system will also be able to prompt the driver when the vehicle is low on, for instance, washer fluid to either schedule a trip to the service center or order more fluid with, of course, their amazon account.

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    source:caranddriver.com