The new Connected Vehicle Skills API makes it faster and easier to create delightful connected vehicle voice experiences for your customers

Mark Dipko Mar 19, 2021
API Connected Devices Automotive Vehicles

Alexa Skills are applications that allow anyone to create convenient voice experiences that can be accessed through hundreds of millions of Alexa-enabled devices. For automotive brands, skills make it easy for their customers to use Alexa to control their vehicle from the comfort of their own home. These Connected Vehicle skills are available for the majority of automakers and help customers to do things like start their car, set the interior temperature, lock and unlock the doors, check on the status of the vehicle, and more.

In the past, creating a connected vehicle skill required each automaker to start from the ground up using a custom skill API. This placed the burden on developers to define each interaction, extending the development timeline, and sometimes leading to inconsistencies in the customer experience. Custom skills also required the customer to use the skill name to invoke it, for example, “Alexa, ask {Automotive Brand} to start my car,” creating additional friction. The new Connected Vehicle Skills API (CVSA) was developed to enhance the experience for both developers and customers.


Simplifying development and accelerating time to market

The Connected Vehicle Skill API improves the experience for developers by providing prebuilt Alexa capability interfaces developed specifically for common connected vehicle use cases including engine start/stop, temperature control, and vehicle lock/unlock. This eliminates the need for developers to build their own interaction models and sample utterances, making it faster and easier to launch new skills. CVSA uses standard voice interfaces based on the Alexa Smart Home API to provide consistency and familiarity, while streamlining skill certification.  

CVSA also includes advanced capabilities such as PIN-based authentication, support for multiple vehicles, automated disambiguation (e.g., “which vehicle would you like to unlock?”), and deferred responses and notifications, in situations where Alexa has to wait for the vehicle to respond, before continuing.

Initially, CVSA is available for US English (en-US), supporting the most frequently used features and capabilities. Brands that have existing skills with specialized capabilities (e.g. dealer appointments, owner’s manual, etc.) can combine their custom intents and the Connected Vehicle Skill API into a single Multi-Capability Skill (MCS), allowing them to migrate to CVSA in a phased manner as new features become available. They can also easily scale to additional locales, as they become available, without the burden of internationalizing the features themselves.


A more convenient and consistent experience for customers

CVSA also benefits the customer by providing a more delightful experience. This starts with providing name free skill invocation, allowing customers to make frictionless requests such as "Alexa, start my car." Alexa will recognize variations, such as “my truck” or “my SUV,” and model names such as “my Rogue.” Customers can also give their vehicles nicknames, such as “Wyatt’s truck.” In situations where authentication is required, customers can now combine the PIN with their utterance (e.g., “Alexa, start my SUV with PIN 1234”), reducing the need for multi-turn utterances. 


CVSA DIagram



Nissan leads the way with Connected Vehicle Skills API

Nissan is the first automaker to work with Amazon on implementing the new Connected Vehicle Skills API, which is now available for various model year 2016 and later Nissan vehicles equipped with NissanConnect Services. Using the NissanConnect Services Skill, Nissan owners can now start, lock and unlock the vehicle with a simple request like “Alexa, start my car.” Households with multiple Nissans can personalize the names of each of them to make it easier and more convenient to remember. For example, using the model name of the vehicle “Alexa, start my Rogue,” or a personal name “Alexa, lock Wyatt's car.”

Click HERE for more information about the NissanConnect Services Skill.


How to get started building with the Connected Vehicle Skills API

Currently, the Connected Vehicle Skill API is available to developers for a cloud-connected vehicle original equipment manufacturer (connected vehicle OEMs). Visit the Connected Vehicle Skills API webpage to explore additional resources about building connected vehicle skills using CVSA.

Related Articles

Get Started Building Connected Vehicle Skills



Automotive Skills: Ways Alexa Can Make Your Driver Easier Fun and More Relaxing