Shop while you drive: Amazon Alexa Auto is coming to cars

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It’s being billed as Alexa Auto and it means that soon many of the useful functions of Amazon’s virtual assistant will be available in motor cars. Soon, you’ll be able to shop as you drive.

You can check out the technical details that Amazon have made available to developers on Github here. As it stands, this predominantly relates to Android devices. And as they say:

The Alexa Auto SDK is designed to allow flexibility in the integration of Alexa as a part of the Auto in-cabin experience. The Alexa Auto SDK Engine provides runtime support for Alexa and other services and allows the application to integrate with platform specific functionality. Platform specific behavior in Alexa Auto is abstracted into interfaces called “Platform Interfaces.” These interfaces should be extended in the application and registered with the Engine.
– Alexa Auto

Alexa Auto will let you do pretty much all of the things you can do on any enabled device from inside your car such as make phonecalls (farewell bluetooth headsets), search the web, ask questions and use it as a GPS. And obviously media streaming and the like will also be available from Amazon Music and other sources.

Obviously, this is a situation where you won’t be using an Echo device but rather whatever is integrated within your vehicle. But when will it become available and even commonplace? Apparently, BMW, Ford, Toyota, and other vehicle manufacturers are already working with Amazon to make Alexa available in cars with the first launches expected late this year or in 2019.

As a development it takes Alexa ubiquity to a whole new arena that is, crucially, outside of the home. And the opportunities are tantalising. It’s easy to imagine saying: “Alexa: direct me to the nearest burger bar.” as you drive around an unfamiliar location.

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