Lamborghini Connects Alexa to what3words Voice Navigation
Lamborghini will incorporate navigation software platform what3words into the Amazon Alexa voice assistant already integrated into its Huracán line of cars. The new voice app will enable drivers to set their navigation using the three-word addresses for 10-foot squares that what3words has set for the entire world.
The new what3words feature operates like a standard Alexa skill, except it’s unique to Lamborghini Huracáns. The what3words grid is designed to be more efficient than standard addresses, which can confuse a voice navigation tool if not spoken in exactly the right way. The errors are particularly an issue for drivers. Similar addresses can be widely separated, as attested by the 521 George Streets in Australia cited by what3words. Even getting the address right might not be helpful if the navigation goes toward the center of a building instead of a place to park or a lookout point for a landmark.
“Voice input is a challenge, which is why there’s a lot of interest,” what3words CMO Giles Rhys Jones told Voicebot in an interview. “specifically around auto, we give a much better user experience. One reason why Alexa likes us is the reduction of ambiguity. Voice gets it wrong quite often, but what3words makes it incredibly accurate,
what3words is already working with other carmakers such as Mercedes-Benz, Tata Motors, and Ford. The startup set up an API with Speechmatics to install its services into smart hardware, and is also an independent mobile app for iOS and Android, offering navigation in 50 languages. This is the first time what3words has been set up as an Alexa skill, but there’s a lot of new interest in navigating using what3words, especially in areas that are less accessible by car.
“The way we are starting to see expansion happen is travel guides and national parks are starting to add what3words [addresses] to help people navigate,” Rhys Jones said. “We are seeing ecosystems grow up fast.”
Alexa Auto Navigator
Lamborghini has already been ahead of the curve testing Alexa functions since inking a deal at CES in 2020 with Amazon. The Huracán Evo was the first car to rely on Alexa to control environmental settings. The upgrades in the Alexa Auto SDK 3.0 released last year allowed owners of the car to adjust the air conditioner, seat warmers, lights, or windows by asking Alexa. The AI enables indirect commands too, such as turning on the heat or AC when the driver says they are too hot or cold.
Amazon has rapidly extended its automotive endeavors even just since then. Fiat Chrysler created the first Alexa Custom Assistant in February, followed by Garmin’s new voice assistant. Soon after, Nissan jumped first at setting up Amazon’s Connected Vehicle Skill API and Ford announced plans in May to integrate Amazon Alexa directly into hundreds of thousands of vehicles over the air. The Amazon Fire TV for Auto platform for Jeep and the way Amazon turned the new Range Rover into a mobile Echo smart speaker all point to Amazon’s goal mimicking a recent Buick ad showing people debating whether to call a car a Buick or an Alexa.