BMW integrates Alexa technology

Avatar By Le Williams | 2 years ago

This week, German multinational company BMW will premiere an integrated support for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. The company is putting into motion the original plans to bring Alexa and potentially other personal assistants such as Cortana and the Google Assistant.

As Dieter May, BMW’s senior VP for digital products told Tech Crunch earlier this year, the company has long held that in-car digital assistants have to be more than just an “Echo Dot in a cup holder,” meaning that they have to be deeply integrated into the experience and the rest of the technology in the car.

Aside from voice interface, BMW is working directly with the Alexa team at Amazon to additionally combine visual responses from Alexa.

Using the tablet-like display, vehicle drivers will find above the center console of most new BMWs, the service does not simply read out the answer but also shows additional facts or graphs when warranted.

“Alexa in a BMW is a lot more like using an Echo Show than a Dot, though you’re obviously not going to be able to watch any videos on it,” Tech Crunch states.

“In the demo I saw, in a 2015 BMW X5 that was specifically rigged to run Alexa ahead of the launch, the display would activate when you ask for weather information, for example, or for queries that returned information from a Wikipedia post,” the reporter adds.

As the team revealed, the first thing it had to build was a way to switch that can route driver’s queries to the right service. The car has a built-in speech recognition service that lets you set directions in the navigation system. Through the new technology, it recognizes that the speaker said “Alexa” at the beginning of the query, then routes it to the Alexa service.

The team also stressed the intricacies of the deep integration “We’re not just streaming everything through your smartphone or using some plug-and-play solution,” a BMW spokesperson noted.

“You get what you’d expect from BMW, a deep integration, and to do that, we use the technology we already have in the car, especially the built-in SIM card.”