Qualcomm Wants To Level Up In-Car Experiences With Alexa – CES 2019

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Qualcomm is working closely with a voice-based development kit launched by Amazon in 2018 to deliver a brand new in-car experience for demonstration at this years CES 2019 event in Las Vegas. The Alexa-driven experience will feature Amazon Music, Prime Video, Fire TV and Audible services but will also include 'natural interactions' between the driver and the vehicle itself. In particular, Qualcomm wants to showcase what might be possible with next-generation connected vehicles, likely powered by 5G to enable navigation as well as recommended points of interest in addition to Hi-Fi multimedia streaming. The system will also utilize that machine learning to provide users with a more personalized experience driven by post-processing and advanced application processing. That experience will, in fact, be close to and consistent with using Amazon's AI assistant in other settings such as in a smart home environment.

Enabling Amazon to enter more deeply into in-car entertainment

Qualcomm's new in-car experience isn't likely to appear in any real-world vehicles anytime soon but it will almost certainly be beneficial for Amazon. The US-based company has indicated that the new in-vehicle Alexa experience is driven by a new Alexa Voice Service launched in 2018 but has also said that it was built on the foundation of its own Smart Audio Platform. The company is likely referring to Amazon's Alexa Auto SDK, launched in August of last year with the goal of bringing Alexa into vehicles to compete with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The development kit includes support for music streaming, navigation, local search, and calling. It essentially delivers Alexa's features with additional functionality that can be built out for vehicle-specific features including some that are similar to Google's Maps application. More importantly, it represents Amazon's first entry into that segment of the connected media market outside of novel third-party devices designed to bring the standard Alexa voice assistant to cars.


Completing infiltration into the connected car market

The new demonstration isn't at all Qualcomm's first entry into the automotive market. To the contrary, the company has been deeply involved in everything from technologies underpinning the automated tasks of self-driving vehicles to in-vehicle connectivity between a given automobile and essentially every other type of connected device. The majority of those solutions are still under testing or awaiting implementation in real-world vehicles but also occupy a completely different space than Qualcomm's CES 2019 announcement. Typically, its previous efforts have centered around improvements to vehicle safety in either self-driving cars or smart cars that can connect to other things in the wider IoT, keeping an eye out for hidden dangers while also enhancing navigation for better travel times. It's newest in-car showcase technology leans toward entertainment and direct consumer interaction instead. Because the company is utilizing an Amazon platform, the exposure will almost certainly be helpful in securing a foothold in the automotive industry for the online warehouse shipper and retailer. It's arguably much more helpful for Qualcomm to infiltrate the entire smart car ecosystem in a way that's not dissimilar to its current saturation of the mobile space. Qualcomm will be showcasing the technology at CES 2019 at the Qualcomm Technologies automotive booth.