Vehicle-based voice assistants are the next great frontier, incorporating artificial intelligence into the driving experience. At CES 2024, Amazon and BMW announced a partnership to significantly improve the pre-existing experience, marrying a large language model (LLM) with Alexa and the actual driver’s manual. The end result? You can ask the Alexa-powered chatbot anything about your car and receive accurate real-time information. That’s right. That thick and unwieldy manual can stay in the glovebox, for good.
Amazon says this tool offers a “more natural way of getting to know your new car.” You can ask how various features work, like the parking assistance system, and get conversational answers. Both companies suggest that this voice technology will “strip away complexity and minimize distractions in the car.”
It’s not just an information delivery system. You can also ask the bot to take actions on your behalf, like entering a specific drive mode. Additionally, this will fully integrate with the infotainment system, so you’ll be able to ask the assistant to turn on music, navigate to a destination, change the internal temperature and just about anything else.
BMW has been using Amazon Alexa in its infotainment systems for years, but this is a significant step forward. The companies previously announced a partnership to build a custom BMW in-vehicle voice assistant that used Alexa as a framework, and this looks to be part of that effort.
There’s something of an arms race with this tech. Volkswagen announced something similar in Las Vegas this week. It plans on merging ChatGPT with its current IDA voice assistant, and this feature will begin showing up in forthcoming vehicles. Mercedes also made an announcement regarding ChatGPT integration last year.
We’re reporting live from CES 2024 in Las Vegas from January 6-12. Keep up with all the latest news from the show here.