BMW enlists Alexa as voice assistant

BMW enlists Alexa as voice assistant

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The next generation of BMW’s voice assistant is to be based on Amazon’s Alexa technology. The announcement was made by Stephan Durach, Senior Vice President Connected Company and Development Technical Operations BMW Group and Dave Limp, Senior Vice President of Devices and Services, Amazon, at the annual Amazon Devices and Services event.

With Alexa technology, BMW aims to enable a more natural dialogue between driver and vehicle. This would allow drivers to fully concentrate on the road, said Stephan Durach.

Since the introduction of BMW’s first voice assistant (BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant) in 2018, voice interaction has become an increasingly important part of the display-operating concept for the Bavarian carmaker – and not only for it; at BMW, this concept is called BMW iDrive. So far, a number of other vehicle manufacturers and tier ones have integrated the Amazon voice assistant into their products or user interface, respectively, including Continental / Elektrobit, JLR, Lamborghin and Mercedesi as well as Audi in some models.

The new BMW voice assistant is designed to work seamlessly with Alexa. This way, customers benefit from the BMW voice assistant as an intelligent vehicle expert, while Alexa offers the familiar experience that many customers already use in their private environment – for example, to play music, remotely control their smart home, add items to a shopping list or check the weather report. Customers can continue to use the new BMW voice assistant and Alexa individually – or have both assistants work together. In doing so, the carmaker promises that data protection-compliant processing of customer data via established processes should be a high priority. “BMW Group and Amazon are committed to maintaining customer trust, protecting their privacy, and giving them control over their data,” the company said.

Dave Limp of Amazon commented, “Working with BMW Group is an excellent example of why we developed Alexa Custom Assistant. Companies can use this technology to more quickly and easily develop custom smart assistants for virtually any device, and avoid the cost and complexity of developing them entirely in-house.”

The first vehicles with the new generation of the BMW voice assistant will be offered over the next two years.

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