Amazon and Panasonic Partnership Brings Simultaneous Alexa and Siri Access in Apple CarPlay
Amazon and Panasonic have partnered to give drivers with Apple CarPlay access to both Alexa and Siri at the same time. The Panasonic Automotive’s SkipGen in-vehicle infotainment system will now support multi-assistant integration, enabling drivers to say “Alexa” or “Hey, Siri” and interact with the respective voice assistants in a first for the automotive industry.
Panasonic’s automotive voice AI platform has offered access to Alexa, including for offline usage, since 2018. That’s also when it began offering control through Google Assistant. The new upgrade utilizes the latest version of Alexa Auto SDK so that drivers with Apple CarPlay activated can use Siri for iPhone features and Alexa for in-vehicle controls without having to switch systems. They just have to say the correct wake word.
“Our latest integration with Amazon’s SDK builds on our strong multi-year relationship and collaboration to elevate ambient digital experiences across different environments,” Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America CTO Andrew Poliak said. “Customers want to be able to take their voice assistants with them on the road, and we are excited to be able to team up on an industry-first integration that seamlessly enables phone calls, music playback, navigation, and more.”
The new simultaneous access to Siri fits with Amazon’s growing interest in interoperability for voice assistants. Last year, the company rolled out new Universal Device Commands (UDCs) and partnerships to make it easier for device makers and their users to interact with Alexa and other voice assistants embedded in one device. And Amazon is one of the founders of the Voice Interoperability Initiative (VII), a cross-company program for exactly that kind of service.
“Voice interoperability is a pillar of Amazon’s broader vision to scale ambient intelligence. We believe customers and device makers should have flexibility and choice, and we provide the best experience when customers have simultaneous access to multiple voice services on a device,” Amazon Alexa vice president Aaron Rubenson said. “We’re excited about this cross-industry collaboration, as it builds on this shared vision and can improve the way people interact with their vehicles.”
On the automotive side, Amazon’s work on the Alexa Auto SDK has been pushing its visual options and deepening local connections. The Alexa Auto SDK 4.0 arrived last year with enhanced multi-modal offerings and updated ways to exchange data between third-party OEM skills and Alexa so that the skills can apply more information and improve their performance.
“Voice interoperability as offered on the SkipGen system is a great example of the powerful experiences that can be unlocked with Amazon’s latest Automotive SDK,” Amazon Smart Vehicles vice president Anes Hodzic said. “We’re thrilled to partner with Panasonic Automotive to enable this functionality for automakers, and continue on our vision to deliver personalized, proactive, and intuitive digital experiences that delight drivers and passengers.”