After BMW’s announcement about a major expansion of Amazon Alexa voice services in their cars, other car makers are now following suit by offering similar propositions. SEAT, the maker of those cute Spanish cars with VW organs, wants to use Alexa as a virtual co-driver.
The idea here is that whatever you used to do with buttons or touchscreens in your car, you can now do with voice. Amazon Alexa is a sophisticated enough voice recognition system that it enables you to have a conversation with your car. You can ask the woman that lives inside your dashboard about the weather. You can have her plan your day. She can even handpick the news for you based on your interest. And who knows, maybe someday she’ll even be able to sweet talk you on your way to work, or become your therapist listening to you whine about your childhood as you drive to the shops.
The point is, Amazon Alexa is a much better option for using connectivity services in your car than the current touchscreen infotainment systems. For one thing, it is a lot safer to use while driving. We’re not yet sure about convenience though, because traditionally voice activated stuff don’t work properly all the time. But this Alexa lady must be one helluva gal, seeing as how many brands are racing to incorporate her into their cars.
“Your car will recognise and greet you, it will know your preferences and guide you to your favourite destinations and restaurants”, assures Leyre Olavarria, who is responsible for Infotainment and Connected Car at SEAT. We ride along with her in her everyday activities to find out how it works. In addition to keeping you informed or speeding up a search request, the voice service can also remotely control a house that is controlled by a home automation system. “You can set the thermostat or check whether you’ve left the lights on. When synchronised with other elements in the home, it will even be able to detect if your pet’s food dispenser has to be filled”, adds Olavarria.