Amazon has announced a new toolkit for developers that will help bring the company’s smart assistant Alexa to more cars. The company has launched the “Alexa Auto SDK”, which is available for all on GitHub and can be used for integration with car infotainment systems. The new SDK will enable all core Alexa functions like media streaming, controlling smart home devices, notifications, weather reports, along with the smart assistant’s thousands of third-party skills. In addition, the SDK comes with the functionality to detect the ‘Alexa’ wake word, access the local media player (along with Amazon Music), local phone, and local navigation system.
Adam Foster writes on the Alexa Blogs, “The Alexa Auto SDK simplifies the integration of Alexa into in-vehicle infotainment systems. The SDK brings the Alexa experience that has delighted customers at home into the vehicle. It adds automotive-specific functionality and contextualizes the experience for the vehicle.” The SDK includes source code and function libraries in C++ and Java to enables a car infotainment system to establish a connection with Alexa, process audio inputs and handle all Alexa interactions. “It also includes sample applications, build scripts, sequence diagrams and documentation – supporting both Android and QNX operating systems on ARM and x86 processor architectures,” adds Foster.
Alexa will launch the native calling service so that users can place calls by speaking a contact name or number. One will also get to use Audible, and iHeartRadio alongside Amazon Music for audio streaming, however, the former two services are not yet available in India. When it comes to navigation, users can set an address and enable native turn-by-turn navigation system. There is also a local search feature to look up movie theaters, grocery stores, hotels, restaurants, and other business, and navigate to the location.
Amazon was already working on integrating Alexa with some cars made by manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, Ford, BMW and others. On some of these vehicles, one can lock the car doors, start the car and send an address for setting up the GPS navigation system using Alexa. With the introduction of the SDK, more automobile makers can tailor custom commands that work for their vehicles.