Amazon Alexa to come to cars

By James Cridland for
Posted 4 January 2017, 6.33am est


"Alexa? Drive me home, and play me Aerosmith."

Amazon's Alexa voice-powered device will be coming to a car near you, according to traffic company INRIX.

The voice control system allows you to play music, listen to podcasts, and potentially open the garage door, just by asking "Alexa". It's open to developers - much more so than Google's competing "Assistant" or Apple's Siri.

Both Radioplayer and TuneIn are available as skills that Alexa can use to listen to streaming radio; and Amazon's Audible book service is also tightly built-in to the product. Users of the service may also be able to order razor-blades or nappies while driving at 70mph past Newport Pagnell motorway services.

INRIX also plans integration between your car and your home Alexa units, so you could, potentially, ask your car to turn on the seat heaters before venturing out in the morning.

Radio is still very popular in-car, commanding 80% of listening time. Part of this, however, is due to the current complex nature of trying to find and listen to a podcast while driving: something that voice control may help with.

At the end of last year, Google's Android Auto - which also offers voice control - was tweaked to also work directly on mobile phones, rather than requiring integration into the vehicle.

Press release

INRIX OpenCar to Integrate Amazon Alexa into Connected Vehicles

Alexa provides OpenCar customers with voice-activated, on demand access to music, Audible, traffic, weather, news, sports and more.

Kirkland, WA – January 4, 2017 – INRIX, Inc., the world leader in connected car services and transportation analytics, today announced the integration of Amazon Alexa, the intelligent cloud based voice service, into the OpenCar platform for connected vehicles. In the second half of 2017, drivers with OpenCar enabled vehicles will be able to access a host of services from within their vehicle via Alexa, including Amazon Music, Audible audiobooks, traffic alerts, weather conditions and more.

An open, white-label in-vehicle application platform, INRIX OpenCar enables powerful cross-brand development for third-party content providers, a consistent and rich user experience for drivers, and brand-, model- and region-specific interfaces for automakers. The INRIX OpenCar ecosystem currently includes more than 2,250 registered developers representing hundreds of companies, offering a wide range of services including streaming audio and entertainment, city guides, real-time parking and mapping services, reservations and more.

In addition to Amazon Alexa automotive integration, INRIX is developing an Alexa skill that will enable users to communicate with their connected vehicles from within their homes. Using Alexa via products like Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, users will soon be able to ask the skill for real-time traffic, travel times to a destination, find and reserve parking, and more. Information, like route directions and traffic conditions, can be sent directly to OpenCar-equipped vehicles from inside the home, creating a seamless experience between the home and the car.

“The ubiquity of mobile and cloud technology in our lives makes the integration with Amazon Alexa a key solution for people looking to maintain personalized and seamless connectivity throughout their daily lives,” said Joe Berry, vice president of OpenCar at INRIX. “Innovative technology, like Amazon Alexa, enables OpenCar to meet the needs of automakers and deliver a next-gen experience for connected cars.”

More information

INRIX media
The UK’s leading provider of real time traffic and travel information to broadcasters, business and government
James Cridland — James runs, and is a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. He also publishes a free daily newsletter about podcasting, Podnews, and a weekly radio trends newsletter.