BMW: Next language assistant based on Alexa

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The next generation of the BMW voice assistant will be based on Amazon Alexa technology, both companies announced in the evening. This should significantly improve the dialogue between driver and vehicle, especially since it can be made more natural for the driver.

Alexa Custom Assistant as a basis

The technical basis is the “Alexa Custom Assistant” developed by Amazon and made available to companies, with which companies can extensively customize Alexa and thus implement their own language assistant that suits their company. This gives BMW access to Amazon's voice AI, which should have a positive effect on understanding the driver's requests and commands. According to BMW, voice interaction has become an increasingly important part of the BMW iDrive display and operating concept since the introduction of the first BMW voice assistant (BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant) in 2018.

BMW also makes use of the possibility offered by Amazon of coexisting with its own language assistant, which has been adapted with additional functions, and Alexa. BMW drivers can use the BMW voice assistant for vehicle-specific functions, but use the usual Alexa control for playing music, general inquiries and smart home interactions, for example. The assistant from BMW coexists and cooperates with Alexa. If desired, customers can continue to use the new BMW voice assistant and Alexa individually. Alexa has been available as an assistant in BMW vehicles since mid-2018.

BMW and Amazon are cooperating on the next generation of the BMW voice assistant (Image: BMW)

Yet no statement on upgrade for existing customers

The new language assistant based on Alexa comes for both development branches of BMW OS, i.e. for Linux as well as AAOS. Whether a software update will be possible for existing customers, which will then also activate the new assistant for them, BMW cannot say at the moment and can therefore neither deny nor confirm.

First vehicles within 2 years

The new BMW language assistant will be launched before the “New Class”, which is scheduled for 2025. BMW states that the first vehicles with the new generation of the BMW language assistant will be available over the next two years.

BMW assistant continue with your own voice

However, BMW will continue to have an assistant with its own voice, which can be activated separately from Alexa in the car. Alexa can be activated by the customer as an additional assistant.

Overview of all new products from Amazon from September 28:

  • New Echo Dot Kids: Amazon brings Alexa and features especially for children
  • Kindle Scribe: Amazon introduces the first Kindle with a writing function
  • Echo Dot (5th Gen): New small Alexa speaker with and without clock
  • Fire TV Cube and Pro-Remote: HDMI input and Wi-Fi 6E for the streaming cube
  • Echo Studio: software update for better sound and now also in white
  • Disney+ is coming: Fire TV for Echo Show 15 and new Alexa functions

ComputerBase has received information about this article from BMW under NDA. The only requirement was the earliest possible publication date.