Continental, Elektrobit to enable integration of Amazon’s Alexa for OEMs

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 16 Jun 2021

The highly integrated hardware-software solution will enable OEMs to fast-track adding an industry-leading customised voice experience to their vehicles.

German Tier 1 supplier Continental and German Software major Elektrobit have announced a significant advancement in automotive embedded voice experiences: the first in-vehicle integration of Alexa Custom Assistant, a comprehensive solution that lets automakers access Alexa’s advanced AI to create their own branded, intelligent assistants.

The collaboration brings together Continental’s automotive electronics and EB’s software expertise, integrating Alexa Custom Assistant into Continental’s Cockpit High Performance Computer with software and integration services provided by EB.

The partners say the integration of Alexa Custom Assistant into a production vehicle is significant as automakers can now truly experience the solution as part of a fully integrated digital cockpit, giving them better insights into the solution‘s in-vehicle value proposition and enabling the discovery of novel use cases. The highly integrated hardware-software solution will put automakers on the fast-track to adding an industry-leading customised voice experience to their vehicles that will set them apart from competitors.

Frank Rabe, head of business unit Human Machine Interface at Continental said: “The automotive cockpit is changing. With the addition of more displays, cameras, sensors and advanced features, it is becoming increasingly complex. Additionally, boundaries between life in and outside the vehicle continue to blur, with consumers expecting a seamless technology experience no matter where they are. Holistic interaction concepts for such complex systems are key, and the best user experience is becoming the ultimate differentiator for any automaker. Working together with Amazon we enable automakers to create world-class customised voice AI experiences that maximise resources and enhance the customer experience.”

According to the partners, with Alexa Custom Assistant, all sorts of custom experiences can be programmed into the vehicle, enabling a natural dialog between the driver, custom assistant, and Alexa to fulfill the driver’s request. Alexa’s advanced AI ensures each request is routed to the assistant that can provide the most relevant and delightful experience. For example, if a customer asks Alexa to roll down a car window, the request will be seamlessly routed to the vehicle brand’s assistant. If a customer asks the vehicle brand’s assistant to play an audio book, the request will be routed to Alexa. Automakers can even customise their brand’s assistant with a unique wake word, voice and capabilities – providing customers the benefits of an intelligent assistant that is their product and services expert, while seamlessly coexisting and cooperating with Alexa.

Ned Curic, VP, Alexa Auto said: “Advances in AI are making voice experiences in the car more natural, conversational and user-friendly – and we want to make this innovation accessible to any automaker without the investments required to build it from scratch and maintain over time. This collaboration with Continental and EB gives the industry a highly integrated and scalable solution for adding customisable in-vehicle experiences to cockpit systems while reducing the burden of building the core capabilities of an intelligent assistant, so automakers can focus their time and resources on creating other unique capabilities that delight their customers.”

The new engagement is an extension of EB’s existing, multi-year relationship with Amazon as one of the first and a leading integrator of Alexa in vehicles. EB, a software expert with more than 30 years serving the industry, previously showcased cockpit software integration with Amazon at both CES 2019 and CES 2020.

Christian Reinhard, executive VP, Elektrobit said: “It’s exciting for EB and Continental to pave the way, making it easier for OEMs to add cutting-edge features to their vehicles. This first-of-its-kind integration of Alexa Custom Assistant is the logical progression of EB’s groundbreaking work with Amazon.”

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