Amazon Provides Open Access to Alexa Software Development Kit for Cars
Alexa is one popular…lady? Amazon's digital assistant has infiltrated your home, and now she's working her way into your car.
Already, the cloud-based voice service is available in production vehicles from major automakers. But its capability is limited. To advance the technology, Amazon has released a software development kit (SDK) aimed solely at automotive applications.
Amazon hopes developers – especially those employed by automakers – will use the SDK to add Alexa's core capabilities to vehicle infotainment systems. The kit includes source code and function libraries, along with sample applications, build scripts and more. Both Android and QNX operating systems are supported on ARM and x86 architectures.
The SDK offers the capability to unleash Alexa's central functions (the stuff it already does in your home, such as speech recognition, streaming media, etc.). It also provides the tools that allow the voice assistant to handle more automotive-centric tasks, such as navigation. Plus, when paired with the right smartphone app, Alexa can remotely lock and unlock car doors, start the vehicle – all that good stuff.
According to the SDK download listing on GitHub: "Alexa Auto SDK contains essential client-side software required to integrate Alexa into the automobile. The Alexa Auto SDK provides a runtime engine for communicating with the Alexa service. It also provides interfaces that allow the developer to implement platform specific behavior such as audio input, media playback, template and state rendering, and phone control. It also includes a sample app that demonstrates how to use the Alexa Auto SDK interfaces."
Currently, Alexa is implemented most heavily in Ford vehicles, built into the Sync 3 infotainment system. Occupants have access to the same skills and features the voice assistant provides in the home. Also, Alexa can chat with Amazon's smart speaker, Echo, to control functions throughout the owner's residence.
With the SDK, the hope is that more automakers and suppliers will follow in Ford's footsteps. If you're a techie interested in playing around with the Alexa SDK, you can download it from GitHub.
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