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SEAT to integrate Amazon Alexa ‘personal’ assistant in its cars

Auto Express logo Auto Express 5 days ago James Wilson
SEAT to integrate Amazon Alexa ‘personal’ assistant in its cars © Auto Express SEAT to integrate Amazon Alexa ‘personal’ assistant in its cars

Amazon’s ‘personal assistant’ Alexa could soon be making an appearance in your car, as SEAT announces it will be first of the European car makers to integrate the technology in its vehicles.

The Alexa voice service, which uses artificial intelligence to respond to a range of instructions and perform functions in a domestic setting, will in future also allow drivers to access functionality that’s specific to a motoring environment.

“We’re excited for SEAT to incorporate Alexa into its vehicles,” says Ned Curic, who is in charge of Amazon Alexa’s automotive division. 

“We think voice is a big part of the future and this is particularly true in cars. With just a tap of the steering wheel, SEAT customers will be able to ask Alexa for music, get the news, control their smart home, and much more.”

SEAT says the technology will be available first in the SEAT Leon and Ateca models towards the end of 2017, and will appear in the Arona, Ibiza and its forthcoming large SUV in 2018.

© SEAT; Newspress Other brands in the VW Group are expected to follow suit, along with many other rival manufacturers, who are attracted by the more advanced voice recognition technology built into systems like Alexa and the rival Apple system, Siri.

Currently, automotive based voice recognition systems are less advanced and tend to respond to fixed phrases and expressions only.

“Integrating Amazon Alexa in our range represents a great boost to SEAT’s digital ecosystem and connectivity and certainly contributes to position the brand as a front-runner in connected vehicles in Europe”, says SEAT President Luca de Meo.

“The trend in voice-activated services is growing and for this reason we want to make it available to our customers”.

With Amazon supporting Alexa with an ‘open skills’ development kit, it’s likely we’ll see rapid advances in the range of in-car functions the system can provide.

At launch, SEAT says Alexa will enable drivers to optimise their time in their car, manage their schedules, find songs, points of interest and real time news. Customers will be able to control Alexa in English or German, but sadly not yet in Spanish which is the SEAT marque’s ‘home’ language.

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