CES 2020: Amazon’s Alexa Gives Voice to Your Car


Sep. 3 2020, Updated 3:41 p.m. ET

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is celebrating the start of the new year in Las Vegas at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2020. The firm’s announcements at the electronics show conveyed its focus on a comprehensive integration of Alexa into the automotive sector. There has been a lot of conjecture and analysis since November. On January 6, Amazon put a stop to the speculation and finally showed its cards during its CES session.

Amazon revealed its extensive partnerships with multiple auto manufacturers. The firm expressed its clear intention to expand its digital voice–enabled footprint in consumer technology.

Since early 2019, Amazon has been seeking to capture a larger share of the automotive industry. In July, Amazon Alexa Automotive vice president Ned Curic told Automotive News, “The real North Star for us is to be embedded with all the cars.” He added, “That’s where we want to get.”

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Alexa enters the luxury and electric car space

Amazon is expanding its digital assistant footprint by adding two prominent names to its list. On Monday, Amazon announced that Alexa would soon be the digital voice assistant of the Italian luxury car Lamborghini and EV startup Rivian, reported TechCrunch.

According to a January 9 Express report, Lamborghini plans to introduce the built-in Alexa feature in its Huracán Evo model and has confirmed its availability for later this year. EV startup Rivian plans to integrate the voice-enabled services in its R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV.

The Express report noted that the digital voice-enabled assistant Alexa allows the driver to make phone calls, get navigation help, and play music. Alexa would also connect to the Echo devices in the driver’s home, allowing the user to switch on lights or regulate the temperature.

Because Lamborghini caters to the premium segment and not the mass consumer market, Amazon also launched its pocket-friendly car assistant Echo Auto. This device is about to go global.

Echo Auto: Amazon’s budget dashboard solution

On January 6 at CES, the e-commerce giant announced the international launch of the Echo Auto. According to Inc42, this aftermarket device is expected to hit the Indian market on January 15 and other countries later this year.

Echo Auto, Amazon’s smart speaker technology designed for automotive use, was displayed at CES 2019. The device hit the US market in last January. The product serves as a budget-friendly digital assistant alternative in the cars that do not have a built-in Alexa device.

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In my opinion, the compatible cigar box–sized auto assistant is an excellent piece of hardware technology. It’s evident that Amazon has developed this device tech to capture the digital assistant market share in the automobile space. Moreover, Amazon’s move to launch the product internationally sharpens the focus on its objective to cater to the broader consumer base.

Fire TV integrated into vehicles to provide infotainment ecosystem

On Monday, Amazon also announced that it planned to introduce its Fire TV platform in the automotive segment, reported Engadget. The new platform provides an ecosystem that blends information and entertainment in the vehicles.

The auto infotainment interface would have an Alexa-enabled touch screen. According to CNET’s Road Show, the platform, when connected with the car’s Wi-Fi network or an LTE (long-term evolution) connection, would allow the user to access its digital content and information, describes Road Show.

In my view, the most intriguing part of this announcement is Amazon’s plan to offer offline streaming of TV content. So far, it’s not clear whether users would have to download these shows for offline viewing, or whether Amazon plans to provide full-fledged offline streaming.

Road Show added that Amazon has partnered with BMW and Fiat Chrysler to launch its infotainment Fire TV platform.

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Amazon and BlackBerry partner to create connected vehicle software

BlackBerry announced that it planned to partner with AWS (Amazon Web Services) to develop connected vehicle software. This software combines the BlackBerry OS and Amazon’s IoT (Internet-of-Things). The BlackBerry operating system would serve as a platform for apps or software that would compute the information at the edge (in this case, the vehicle) and from the cloud (in this case, AWS).

The implementation of the connected vehicle software would allow automotive OEMs to use multiple integrated services. The services include vehicle health monitoring, cockpit personalization, and ADAS (advanced driver assistance system).

Amazon hits the ball out of CES 2020

The e-commerce giant aggressively integrating its AI-driven digital assistant in automobiles, aiming for the majority of the AI-driven market. Amazon has rapidly integrated its technology into cars. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Amazon launched a smart or autonomous vehicle.

In July, Ned Curic, vice president of Amazon Alexa Automotive, told Automotive News, “The real North Star for us is to be embedded with all the cars.” He added, “That’s where we want to get. We’re working very hard to get there because we believe that is the best experience.”

With Curic’s statement in mind, Amazon’s CES 2020 revelations seem aligned with expectations. These announcements have increased the level of optimism by investors and users about the company’s future.

On January 6, Amazon stock touched a high for the month at $1,913.88. This positive stock price movement seems to support Alexa’s integration in the automotive space.


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