Amazon is gearing up at CES 2020 to bridge the gap between its Alexa assistant, Echo Auto or Fire-branded gadgets, and the automotive industry. That’s according to recently reported plans revealed by the company and its partners in conjunction with this year’s annual tech event in Las Vegas.
The company not only announced new partnerships with some of the most prestigious names in the business. It also unveiled forward-thinking skills to make Alexa-equipped vehicles more IoT friendly than ever. That’s in addition to plans to bring its Fire TV platform onboard in cars. All of which appears to be part of a multi-faceted assault on traditional in-car systems.
In terms of Alexa Auto, the biggest announcements made at CES 2020 are likely those tied in with skills. The company announced, for instance, that it is adding the ability for drivers to pay for gas at 11,500 Exxon and Mobil stations by voice. They’ll simply need to tell their Alexa device to “pay for gas.”
Fire TV will take auto infotainment beyond Alexa and Echo Auto
Another major step forward for Amazon comes in the form of a partnership that was already announced with General Motors. In 2019, the company was just starting out with Echo Auto. But its partner at the time was already promising to include Alexa in infotainment systems for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles. That was slated for the first half of this year. And Amazon hasn’t diverged from that plan at this year’s event.
Now, Amazon is not only vowing to include a Fire TV edition of Alexa in the infotainment systems for BMW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles vehicles. It’s working to build out entirely new voice-driven mapping and navigation experiences with companies such as Bosch. That’s in addition to mapping companies HERE and TomTom, Telenav, and MELCO.
The addition of Fire TV-branded solutions to infotainment systems will arguably have a greater impact. One area where Amazon’s in-vehicle systems are severely lacking is on the visual side of things.
Fire TV could act as a buffer there since that’s the sole purpose of that segment of Amazon’s business. Joining forces with mapping companies will, presumably, give the company the chops to compete with Google’s Auto-specific navigation solutions.
Expanding Alexa and Echo Auto beyond the US from CES 2020
Amazon is also expanding Alexa Auto, to begin with. Starting in India as of January 15 before expanding over the year to other regions, Echo Auto will finally be available outside of the US. The retail and e-commerce giant did not provide any specifics regarding which regions will see Echo Auto in 2020. There’s also no solid timeframe in place, as a result. But the solution is coming to more regions this year.
Beyond that, Amazon revealed that its AWS and Amazon Vehicles units are working closely with Cadillac and ZeroLight. The goal from that partnership is to revolutionize the car buying experience by creating a visually appealing personalized experience. That will start with a concept centered around buying the Cadillac XT6 and Amazon will be showcasing that at CES 2020.