Amazon's Alexa to provide basis for voice assistant in BMW cars

FILED - Alexa, lock the doors: BMW drivers may soon find themselves speaking to Amazon's voice assistant, according to a planned collaboration between the two companies. — Photo: Sina Schuldt/dpa

WASHINGTON: Voice assistants are growing ever more important in cars, and while Google and Apple are increasing their foothold in automotive industry, Amazon has announced that BMW is set to rely on Alexa for future voice control software in its cars.

Amazon’s voice assistant is set to be available in the first BMW vehicles within the next two years, the companies said on Wednesday, announcing a further collaboration in future.

The Munich-based carmaker will use Amazon’s Alexa Custom Assistant solution, which allows various companies to develop their own voice assistants based on Alexa.

The announcement was made at Amazon’s annual product launch event, where various smart home and voice assistant update were showcased.

Voice assistants in cars have become more and more popular in recent years, typically for streaming music, checking calendar entries, making phone calls and getting directions without having to take your eyes off the road.

Amazon Alexa has previously been integrated in some BMW vehicles, and drivers can also connect the Alexa voice assistant to smartphones in cars via the Echo Auto Bluetooth adapter.

Brands like Volvo, Fiat, Ferrari and Jeep meanwhile rely on Android Auto, meaning if you open certain apps on your phone, they can be seen and controlled on the car display, which makes operating them even easier. Apple CarPlay offers a similar integration of smartphones into the car together with the Siri voice assistant. – dpa

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