Amazon has unveiled some of its initiatives at CES centered on Alexa Auto, furthering the retail tech giant’s quick and effective push into the automotive space.
The tech giant announced expanded vehicle integrations of its Alexa Auto voice assistant, new in-vehicle Alexa features, partnerships on the Alexa Auto software development kit and the international rollout of the Alexa-enabled Echo Auto device.
The company has been growing its Alexa Auto experience over the past few years. The voice assistant is available with several automaker brands and vehicles, but General Motors was the first automaker to announce it would fully integrate Alexa Auto. In September, GM said it would fully embed Alexa Auto into its vehicles for the 2018 model. Amazon’s push to make Alexa part of users’ morning commute and road trips relies heavily on partnerships with automakers. The company added two more such alliances today.
Amazon is bringing its Fire TV media streaming devices to cars for the first time, via new partnerships with BMW and Fiat Chrysler Automotive. The move is part of a broader expansion of the Fire TV Edition program. Other than that, Echo Auto, a $50 device that connects to the Alexa smartphone app and plays through car speakers, will be released in India on Jan. 15, and launch in Europe in late February.
Later in 2019, drivers will be able to pay for gas at more than 11,500 Exxon and Mobil stations with an Amazon Alexa voice command. Amazon Web Services is working with BlackBerry to build a cloud-powered connected vehicle software platform for in-vehicle applications. AWS is also working with Unity Technologies on a new cloud service to “test, train, and validate an autonomous perception system.” Rivian, the Amazon-backed electric vehicle maker, will integrate Alexa into its first two all-electric vehicles: the R1S and R1T. The digital assistant will also be built into the fleet of 100,000 electric delivery vans Rivian is making for Amazon.
Amazon also couldn’t resist the lure of its new Alexa partnership with Lamborghini, displaying a bright orange Huracan Evo that can use voice commands to change the cabin temperature, tune radio stations or control the seat heaters.