Alexa, where is the closest coffee shop? Alexa, will it be rainy on my commute home today?
You’ll soon be able to ask those questions to future vehicles such as Jeep SUVs, Ram pickups and Chrysler minivans.
Amazon said as part of the virtual Consumer Electronics Show that Fiat Chrysler America (as of this week known as Stellantis) will be the first automaker with Alexa Custom Assistant voice-activated artificial intelligence system. Amazon’s Alexa system differs from that currently available built into most car infotainment systems in the depth of answers and tasks it can handle, not to mention its more advanced voice-recognition software. Alexa is actually a series of artificial intelligence systems that can hand-off requests from one virtual assistant to another.
The automaker and Amazon have not said exactly when Alexa Custom Assistant will become available in cars. For now, the automaker says it has “Begun the planning process” of integrating the assistant in “future models.”
Alexa will be integrated into the brand’s Uconnect infotainment software, versions of which are standard fare in nearly every vehicle the automaker builds.
Amazon currently offers an Alexa system that can be integrated into any Bluetooth-enabled car, and some vehicles currently offer Alexa Auto, which can work through a user’s Amazon-connected music or provide voice guidance, though the number of questions drivers will eventually be able to ask vehicles with this more advanced system is likely to be far greater.