Currently reading: Volkswagen to get Amazon Alexa voice control in connectivity push
The VW Group's connectivity boom continues, as Skoda and Volkswagen are set to follow Seat in adopting leading speech recognition tech for in-car command system
Jimi Beckwith
News
2 mins read
28 September 2017

Volkswagen is also to get Amazon's Alexa voice control system, following the introduction of the system in Seat cars, as well as VAG stablemate Skoda. The latest development comes amid the VW Group's latest push for a greater level of connectivity and user-friendliness. 

The technology, which will be part of Skoda’s infotainment package in future models, will use Amazon’s more advanced speech recognition system than the current in-car voice command systems. The existing functionality has been panned by critics as over-simplistic, recognising only set phrases and rigid commands rather than natural speech.

Seat, which recently announced the advent of the third-generation Cupra R, confirmed that the technology would feature in some of its models by the end of the year, with the rest of the range following suit over the next 12 months. Brand boss Luca de Meo made the announcement earlier today at a presentation of the Spanish marque's plan for the show. 

The system will be implemented first in the Leon and Ateca by the end of this year, then will move to the Arona and Ibiza. It is the first European application of the system in an automotive environment, said de Meo. The system will be optimised for a driving situation, in place of its current, home-biased setup, he continued. New commands have been developed for automotive use, with infotainment commands now added, as well as navigation requests. Once installed, Alexa's vocabulary can and will be expanded. 

Speaking at the Skoda Digilab in Prague, Czech Republic, head of corporate development and digitalisation Andre Wehner said: “We are working on the Alexa integration, and a smart home integration to give a better service for our customers.” 

Connectivity specialist at Skoda, Kai Scheffs, said: “In the first cars which had a voice assistant, they would only understand some sentences. In the future, looking at Alexa and [Apple virtual assistant] Siri, it will definitely be something more individual, so the customer will not really have to think about what they are saying; a more flexible way to understand the customer.”

Also revealed in the plan was the idea for in-home shopping, as well as the advent of over-the-air updates, like those introduced to the car industry by Tesla. This includes the possibility of downloadable features to a car, ending the need to fully and finally spec a car before purchase, and opening up the possibility of the retrofitment of additional features at the customer’s demand. 

A timescale of Skoda’s Amazon Alexa integration has not been given, nor has that of the over-the-air updates, although the brand is looking to seize the moment as the connectivity and Internet of Things boom continues to grow. 

Read more: 

Bosch demonstrates car technology of the future with CES concept

Volvo reveals new smartwatch-based remote voice control

The car that tells you what’s in the fridge

2017 CES Consumer Electronics Show roundup

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James Dene 29 September 2017

Progress

First they replace the analogue instrumnets that looked good and worked perfectly, with horrible and quickly dating screen-based 'interfaces'. These things prove dangerous and ergomically inferior, so instead of going back to the sensible, they add voice control in a desperate and cack handed attempt to make the digital mistake work. Eventually, sense will prevail and functional instrumentation and switchgear will return.

catnip 29 September 2017

James Dene wrote:

James Dene wrote:

First they replace the analogue instrumnets that looked good and worked perfectly, with horrible and quickly dating screen-based 'interfaces'. These things prove dangerous and ergomically inferior, so instead of going back to the sensible, they add voice control in a desperate and cack handed attempt to make the digital mistake work. Eventually, sense will prevail and functional instrumentation and switchgear will return.

Hopefully. I can adjust the heating and ventilation on my works Vauxhall Combo van with hardly a glance away from the road, using its 3 dial system, so how is it progress to make it any more difficult than that.  Seat's interior designer was quoted recently as saying that climate control had no place on a touchscreen, but we'll see how long that sentiment lasts.

Thekrankis 29 September 2017

Of all the things we never asked for...

...or needed.

 

Pffft!

Maybe VW should concentrate on making CLEAN cars for a change....

scotty5 28 September 2017

VW's Alexia

Alexia, set temperature to 22C

"Temperature set to 24C"

Alexia, Set cabin temperature to 26C

"Cabin temperature set to 28C"

Alexia, it's absolutely freezing in here, why aren't you turning the heating on?

"Well I'm trying to but VW have programmed me never to deliver what I said I would."

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