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Amazon releases software development kit to integrate voice control into cars

Amazon releases software development kit to integrate voice control into cars

Jeff Bezos-led Amazon on Thursday announced an open-source release of Alexa Auto SDK (software development kit) for developers to help automakers integrate Alexa voice control into cars.

Available for download on GitHub, the software development kit includes support for streaming media, smart home control, weather reports and skills.

The kit will be used to accomplish tasks like hands-free voice control — like playing music, navigating, making phone calls, and performing local searches.

It’s the first time developers will be able to get a first look at how Amazon wants to integrate Alexa into in-vehicle infotainment systems.

Alexa Auto will make its appearance in more vehicles later this year. Toyota is building Alexa into its Entune 3.0 infotainment system, and Panasonic is bringing Alexa to its future in-car infotainment systems.

An Amazon spokesperson told tech news portal VentureBeat that the kit was open-sourced to make it easier for teams to collaborate with each other and to integrate Alexa into their products, particularly since in-car infotainment centres can vary widely by car brand and country.

Competitor Baidu has numerous partnerships with automobile manufacturers for bringing its DuerOS voice assistant into cars, too. 

Alexa was introduced in cars in January 2018. Panasonic was the first partner for Amazon's on-board car technology.

Amazon had also partnered Ford and Hyundai for in-car assistance systems earlier. But in Panasonic, Amazon has tied up with a leader in the in-car information and entertainment space with 11.5% market share, according to a Strategy Analytics report.

Another report from Research and Markets sees the in-car infotainment space growing into a $30 billion market by 2022 - which would explain Amazon's zeal.

Amazon earlier this year introduced a mobile accessory kit to encourage hardware manufacturers to bring Alexa to wearable tech, wireless earbuds, and headphones.

Amazon had launched Alexa in late 2014 and it competes directly with Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana and Samsung's Bixby.

Alexa currently dominates the voice-controlled speaker market through its Echo devices and Amazon is trying to upskill its assistant to stay ahead of its rivals.

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