Amazon has announced Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as the first automaker to deploy its new virtual assistant technology. The new iteration of Alexa will allow FCA to customize the virtual assistant technology for each of its brands. Additionally, it gives FCA vehicles a dual-assistant strategy.
With Alexa Custom Assistant Amazon is basically given developers access to Alexa’s underlying artificial intelligence. With access to Alexa’s core technology, developers are enabled to leverage Alexa’s ever-improving AI, but customize the assistant to fit their brand and customer.
“Our customers expect to easily connect with their digital lifestyles wherever they go and today we responded with plans to offer new intelligent experiences built on Alexa’s world-class voice AI technology,” said Mark Stewart, Chief Operating Officer, FCA – North America. “We look forward to the expanding partnership with Amazon and the integration of Alexa Custom Assistant within our powerful Uconnect system as we continue on our path to put customer needs and expectations at the center of everything we do.”
In addition to a custom variant of Alexa, this solution also enables FCA to have a dual-assistant approach. Essentially, FCA is going to have Alexa and its own voice assistant native to the UConnect system. With Alexa Custom Assistant, Alexa acts as a sort of traffic control. Alexa has to vet requests to determine if it should route the request to the vehicle voice assistant or handle the request itself.
For example, if a customer is asking Alexa to turn on the lights at home, the request will be routed to Alexa. If the customer is wanting to adjust the HVAC temperature in the car, the request will go to the native vehicle voice control. Customers will be able to wake the assistant using the automaker’s unique name or by saying “Alexa.”
Amazon announced Alexa Custom Assistant today with FCA being the launch customer. FCA has not disclosed when the technology will arrive to their vehicles.