The battle to be the driving force behind in-vehicle connected experiences is beginning to heat up, with Amazon now joining the widely popular Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) platform. For those who weren't previously aware of the platform, it was founded back in 2012 by Jaguar, Land Rover, Nissan, Toyota, DENSO Corporation, Fujitsu, HARMAN, NVIDIA, Renesas, Samsung, and Texas Instruments. It is intended to serve as an open-source OS and framework for automotive-based applications and currently boasts around 114 members. Amazon's focus, as the latest member of the platform, is to simplify the development of in-vehicle applications by engineering the code required to allow for cross-platform compatibility. Effectively, that would allow for developers of apps to create a single version of their app which would then work in-vehicle regardless of which speech recognition tech is used in the vehicle.
Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that Amazon's Alexa will suddenly spring up in every vehicle, becoming the winner of the infotainment wars. Instead, the warehousing and shipping giant is part of a larger team which also includes Nuance Communications Inc. and Voicebox Technologies Corp. Meetings between those groups are being held on a weekly basis and the real focus is on making a universal platform for the development of in-car apps. By way of hypothetical example, ordinarily, if Mercedes, Ford, Toyota, Suzuki, and Honda all released their own new infotainment system, a developer who wanted to get their app on each would likely need to build and maintain as many different versions of the app. Once work is complete, the scenario changes. If each was running on the AGL platform, a single app could be built to service each vehicle despite each having its own unique offering.
The current goal is to finalize development of the software solution by June of this year, though it remains to be seen whether this will be achievable. If completed successfully, it will undoubtedly make Amazon Alexa easier to place in vehicles, as long as they implement AGL. However, it could feasibly make it much easier for Google to get its Assistant into the same vehicles if an agreement were to be reached between any given manufacturer and the search giant. The only downside for Google would be that the vehicle would be running software created in part by its rival rather than Android Auto.