Last week, Amazon released APIs for software developers to include their virtual assistant Alexa with a “few lines of code” for free. Alexa is cloud-based voice service that powers the Amazon Echo, a device that answers questions using a connection to the Internet. The Echo is so popular is is on back-order. Amazon claims that any device with a speaker, a microphone, and an Internet connection can integrate Alexa.
An the example of what the Alexa code can in connected car appeared in Amazon’s news release:
A car that enables a driver to press the Alexa button on the steering wheel and request anything from Alexa, such as “Read my book” or “Remind me to pick up flowers after work.
Alexa is built in the cloud and uses Amazon Web Services to continue to learn and add functionality over time. Recently, Alexa added Pandora, Audible, traffic, sports scores and schedules, control of connected devices. Soon, it may be listening in your car for your commands.
Not only that, Amazon is funding development with the Alexa Fund with up to $100 million dollars in investments for developers, manufacturers and start-ups. The fund supports Garageio to control and monitor garage doors.
Alexa and Garageio work wit IFTTT (If This Then That) and can close the garage door if it starts raining, when you arrive at your house or email you when the garage door is opened or closed.
OBD-II device and service Mojio is using Alexa Skills Kit to enable customers to use Echo or other Alexa-enabled devices to ask “Alexa, do I need to get gas on the way to work today?” before leaving home or “Alexa, where is my daughter driving the car this evening?”, to let the car owner know that the car is healthy and the kids are safe.
Amazon has a huge user-base and if Echo becomes popular, drivers may prefer to talk to her in the car over Siri or OK Google.