Amazon Alexa will be the foundation for BMW’s next-generation voice assistant, the companies announced at Amazon’s annual Devices and Services launch event on Wednesday.
The German carmaker and Amazon have had a business relationship for many years now; BMW started offering the Alexa assistant for some vehicles in 2018, and the partnership has grown since then.
This ad stands out though. BMW won’t just integrate Alexa into the car like it used to. It will use Amazon’s technology to build its own assistant. The first cars equipped with BMW’s new generation of voice assistants will hit the market in the next two years.
This idea, if executed well, would give BMW access to Amazon’s technology and allow it to focus on creating specific automotive features.
Stephan Durach, Senior Vice President of Connected Enterprise and Development Engineering Operations at the BMW Group, says this approach will take the digital experience to the next level.
The Alexa Custom Assistant is intended to make it quicker and simpler for businesses to establish custom smart assistants for practically any device without the cost and difficulty of building from scratch. This partnership with BMW is a perfect example of what it can do. To put it another way, Amazon sees this as the following step in its plans to control, or at least try to control, the in-car experience.
It also shows how Amazon is trying to capture more market share in the auto industry, something Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices and services, alluded to in his comments.
Amazon also introduced the second-generation Echo Auto, a more compact device with new features that aims to expand the e-commerce giant’s reach by integrating the Alexa voice assistant into multiple vehicles.
Notably, customers can still choose to use BMW’s voice assistant, Alexa individually, or let the two assistants work side-by-side.