Amazon’s ‘Alexa Custom Assistant’ Opens Alexa Framework to Third-Party Manufacturers

Amazon is rolling out a new service that gives companies access to Alexa’s AI smarts to build their own voice assistants.

Amazon today launched Alexa Custom Assistant, a product that allows automakers and device manufacturers to create intelligent assistants built on the AI technologies powering Alexa.

The new offering marks the first time Amazon is granting third parties access to Alexa’s framework, and the company says it will enable brands to create assistants featuring voices, custom wake words, and capabilities that can coexist with Alexa.

Car companies can use the program to create their own AI voice to represent the intelligent assistant within their vehicles. The skills offered can also be limited to those which suit the environment of a vehicle, but also can create their own specific to the brand.

Alexa Custom Assistant builds on top of Alexa’s core systems, allowing for easy access to features like local search, weather, timers, and alarms. Additionally, thesystem can continue to be updated and improved by Amazon, so car owners using the system get both Alexa’s intelligence and a unique voice assistant experience.

One of the first companies making use of the program is Fiat Chrysler, which already has an existing Alexa integration for some of its car models.

“Our customers expect to easily connect with their digital lifestyles wherever they go and today we responded with plans to offer new intelligent experiences built on Alexa’s world-class voice AI technology,” said Mark Stewart, FCA’s Chief Operating Officer. “We look forward to the expanding partnership with Amazon and the integration of Alexa Custom Assistant within our powerful Uconnect system as we continue on our path to put customer needs and expectations at the center of everything we do.”

Ultimately, these custom assistants are still based on Alexa, and Alexa will actually coexist on devices that use a custom assistant. The custom assistant program could convince car makers to choose Alexa over Google’s assistant or custom solutions built by third-party providers.