Accelerate the integration of Alexa into your vehicles with Alexa Auto SDK v3.0

Mark Dipko Oct 09, 2020
Automotive Vehicles SDK

Today, we launched version 3.0 of the Alexa Auto SDK, which continues to enhance functionality and reduce friction for automakers to integrate Alexa into their vehicles and build voice-first brand experiences that keep their customers entertained and productive in their vehicles, even when connectivity is intermittent or not available.  

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At Amazon, we obsess over our customers. This not only includes the end customers that use our products and services, like Alexa, but also the partners that use them into their own products. Hence, one of our primary objectives for the Alexa Auto SDK is to make it faster and easier for automakers to integrate Alexa into their vehicles. Prior versions of the SDK included ready-to-run sample applications and design guidelines to help automakers deliver the familiar Alexa customer experience while maintaining their unique brand experience. We also provided the Alexa Skills Kit to extend the functionality of Alexa in their vehicles by building skills for custom controls in and out of the vehicle. 

Now, with the Alexa Auto SDK v3.0, we are introducing Alexa Auto Client Service (AACS), a new feature of the Alexa Auto SDK developed to help simplify and reduce the time it takes automakers to integrate Alexa into their vehicles. AACS provides the Alexa client as a service that uses standard Android intent messaging to interact with other Android In-vehicle Infotainment (IVI) applications such as navigation/maps, phone dialer, HVAC controls, and entertainment apps like Spotify. AACS greatly simplifies the SDK integration task, eliminating the need to custom-build the messaging and service layers to interface with these IVI components, and reducing lines of code needed to integrate the SDK v3.0 by more than 50% compared to the prior version. AACS also decouples the SDK and Alexa IVI application, enabling automotive companies to separate development and deployment, and allowing individual teams to pursue parallel integration paths, significantly reducing time to marketThis also simplifies the OTA process making updates simpler and more consistent while minimizing impact to the Alexa implementation. Finally, AACS helps reduce the time developers spend with ongoing upgrades and maintenance to their Alexa implementation, with Amazon taking ownership of the service layer, to ensure future compatibility. Overall, AACS provides many benefits that allow automotive developers to focus on creating unique brand experiences, rather than spending time on undifferentiated development and maintenance tasks.   

"AACS decouples the service and UI logic, which will help us reduce the time and effort required to integrate Alexa into a vehicle by allowing our teams to work on various parts of the integration simultaneously.” Said Stefan Ruff, Principal Engineer Architecture at, a leading developer of innovative in-vehicle software solutions for global automakers. 

In addition to our focus on making it easier for our partners, we also focus on continued innovation on behalf of the end customers who use Alexa in the vehicle. Use of voice services in the vehicle continue to grow, and Voicebot’s Jan 2020 report shows voice usage in the US growing 13.7% between September 2018 and January 2020 to nearly 130 million users. More than half of US adults state they have tried a voice assistant while driving and one third are monthly users. Additionally, the J.D. Power 2019 In-Vehicle Voice Connectivity Study found that 67% of consumers desire the same voice assistant at home and in the car to provide a consistent experience. This continued strength in customer demand drives us to innovate and provide automakers the capability to build the intelligent, engaging Alexa voice experiences that delight customers. Since the SDK v2.0 release last September, we have introduced a variety of new features, capabilities and enhancements across each domain. 

  • Car Control: The SDK now supports a wide variety of vehicle features in the vehicle to make the driving experience more convenient. This includes controlling various functions of the IVI and displays, the windows and sunroof, seats, interior lighting, wipers, and vehicle modes. Car Control also provides the ability to group controls together into defined zones including driver, passenger, front, rear, left, right, rear driver, and rear passenger, and use natural commands such as open/close, and roll up/roll down for windows and sunroof. This allows all vehicle occupants to control specific features using only their voice using natural and intuitive phrases, such as “Alexa, roll down the rear passenger window.” Car control also offers automakers the option to run either in the cloud, or locally with the Local Voice Control (LVC) extension. 
  • Entertainment: To provide an enjoyable entertainment experience, the Alexa Auto SDK allows customers to control the radio and SiriusXM using callsigns, presets, branded names, and frequency, chance source, change volume and even adjust bass and treble – a feature that is usually several menus deep, and control local media devices connected through Bluetooth, USB and SD Cards. In addition to supporting a variety of popular streaming services including Amazon Music, Audible and iHeart Radio, we have now integrated the Spotify eSDK so that automakers can provide Alexa-voice control of Spotify without requiring the embedded Spotify app installed on their head units. 
  • Communications: The Alexa Auto SDK provides a variety of ways to keep your customers connected while staying focused on the road, supporting voice calling by contact name, nickname, by speaking the phone number, or based on POI data, for example by saying “Alexa, call the nearest top-rated Thai restaurant,” join meetings, and Drop in and make announcements to their Alexa devices, for instance, saying “Alexa, announce, I am on my way home. Now with SMS support, customers who pair their iOS or Android phone with the vehicle and grant permission will be able to say, “Alexa, send a message,” and use their voice to compose and send text messages. Alexa will also notify the user when new messages are received and can ask, “Alexa, play messages,” to have Alexa read their messages aloud to avoid having to look at their phone. They can also send messages directly to connected Alexa-enabled devices.
  • Navigation and Local Search - Alexa allows customers to easily find and navigate to their destination and new features allow users to display and navigate to previous destinations, add waypoints along their current route and control the onscreen map such as changing the zoom. Alexa also provides turn and lane guidance, for instance, asking, “Alexa, when is my next turn?” Features like these allow drivers to pay attention to the road instead of searching for information on their navigation screens. 
  • Language Support: Alexa Auto SDK now includes a Multilingual mode that allows customers to speak in two different languages — for example English and Spanish — with Alexa automatically recognizing either one and responding in the same language as the request. The user can choose their primary and secondary languages in the US (English/Spanish), India (English/Hindi), or Canada (English/French).

“We have made significant strides over the past year, working in partnership with automotive companies all over the world to integrate Alexa into their vehicles,” said Ned Curic, VP of Alexa Auto at Amazon. “We are constantly listening and acting on their feedback to make the experience better for our partners and their customers. With AACS, we are helping accelerate the integration of the Alexa into their vehicles, and making it easier for them to update it in the future. With simple and secure updates, they can regularly deliver new features and capabilities to keep the digital cabin fresh for their customers throughout the vehicle lifecycle.”

Automakers: Learn more about integrating Alexa into your vehicles with the Alexa Auto SDK.
Skill developers: Learn how you can customize your Alexa skill for in-vehicle use cases.


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