Amazon wants to bring its voice assistant technology, Alexa to the table so that automakers can tailor their digital assistant to their liking enabling them to create their own in-car voice assistants. The company made an announcement on Friday about its new service- Alexa Custom Assistant that will enable automakers and device manufacturers to develop their own digital assistant, built on Amazon’s Alexa voice-enabled technology.
The first company to have agreed to build its own Alexa based AI carmaker Fiat Chrysler (FCA), which has had an ongoing relationship with Amazon to integrate some of its technology, like Amazon Fire TV-powered screens, into its cars. The financial deal between the two of them has not been yet disclosed. Moreover, it is also not clear if Amazon is charging FCA (Fiat Chrysler) to license the AI tech rather than giving it out for free.
Amazon also mentions that it has intentions of giving this technology to all companies and not just auto-makers so that a faster, cheaper, less complex, and tailored voice experience could be built instead of simply bolting on an integration with a third-party service.
Alexa Custom Assistant not only enables custom’s AI products to stay in control of and dictate information about special features but also can handle more general app-related requests like music playback and directions. “For example, if a customer asks Alexa to roll down a car window, or how to troubleshoot a device, the request will be routed to the brand’s assistant. If a customer asks the brand’s assistant to play an audiobook, the request will be routed to Alexa.
“The real way that you’re going to want to interact with a voice assistant in your car is to have it built-in,” Dave Limp, Amazon’s top hardware exec, told CNBC on Friday in a “Squawk Alley” interview. “It just takes time to do that.
“Now, with the addition of Alexa Custom Assistant, it allows us to add even more flexibility for those auto manufacturers to add it in and build it in moving into the future,” he added.
The offering is the latest example of Amazon’s efforts to extend Alexa’s reach beyond voice-activated smart speakers. The company has baked the digital assistant into a range of devices around the home, including microwaves, clocks, and smart plugs.
The company faces competition from huge Silicon Valley companies like Apple and Google since they are also looking to convince carmakers to incorporate their companies’ technologies into various different systems. So far, Amazon has also formed partnerships with a growing list of automakers including General Motors, Ford, BMW, Audi, Toyota, Hyundai, and Nissan.