Amazon presents an in-car gadget, Eco Auto, at an event on September 20, 2018
Todd Haselton | Cnbc
Amazon is making it easy for its drivers to get voice assistants.
The company on Friday announced a new service – Alexa Custom Assistant – that enables automakers to develop their own digital assistant, built on Amazon’s Alexa voice-enabled technology.
Even though it relies on Amazon technology, vehicle manufacturers can employ their digital assistants to perform tasks such as search, traffic updates and navigation by setting unique wake words, voice, skills, and abilities to their liking.
Amazon stated that the cost to develop an intelligent assistant using the service will vary depending on the device or vehicle, customer use cases and language requirements.
Amazon said the solution meant to overcome some of the challenges that come to a company from scratch to build its own digital assistive technology, which can be costly and time consuming. Vehicle manufacturers using the service can also tap into “tens of thousands of Alexa skills and integrations” like smart home, entertainment and shopping.
The latest example is Amazon’s efforts to extend Alexa’s reach beyond voice-activated smart speakers. The company has baked the digital assistant into a number of devices around the home, including microwaves, clocks and smart plugs.
Over the years, Amazon has set its sights on partnering with car manufacturers to get Alexa on the road, either by embedding digital assistants in vehicles or enabling more basic capabilities, such as owners Allows to close the doors of your vehicle using voice commands from your homes. Last January, Amazon released a version of its Fire TV streaming service for the seatback screen.
Amazon faces Silicon Valley companies such as Apple and Google, which want to persuade carmakers to integrate into their in-car infotainment systems. So far, Amazon has formed partnerships with a growing list of automakers including General Motors, Ford, BMW, Audi, Toyota, Hyundai and Nissan.
Fiat Chrysler, which has previously partnered with Amazon on bringing its technology to vehicles, will be the first automaker to develop its own digital assistant through Alexa Custom Assistant, Amazon said. Alexa Custom Assistant will be integrated into select Fiat Chrysler vehicles through its infotainment system for cars, Uconnect 5.