Voice technology shines in environments where you are occupied with other tasks. That is a big reason why Alexa has become so popular in places like the kitchen or living room. The opportunity in automotive is on par with that of the smart home. Voice can strip away complexity, minimize distractions, and make your drive more connected, productive and entertaining. Alexa isn’t simply a voice recognition system in the car. It’s designed to be an extension of the Alexa experience at home, and include a lot of what customers already know and love about Alexa – plus new auto-specific features.
In many ways, this last year was a reminder of the positive impact technologies like voice AI can have in people’s lives around the world, and how much they count on it to stay connected and organized – especially as many people spent more time than ever at home. Now, amid signs of recovery and re-opening, as people start returning to their cars and commutes – and the desire to get back out into the world – it will be more important than ever that they’re able to bring that voice-enabled experience on-the-go, and into their vehicles. To better understand the needs of consumers and their expectations for voice in the car, we recently worked with J.D. Power to survey consumers in the US and Germany interacting with voice services like Alexa. Below we highlight a few key findings.
Customers want to be able to access voice services like Alexa in the car for a consistent experience
78% of respondents in the US and 80% in Germany stated that they would want the same brand of voice service they have at home to be on their next vehicle.
As voice AI increasingly becomes a part of daily life for customers, more automakers are bringing that technology into their vehicles in order to improve upon the voice recognition software that has been available in the past. The benefits of bringing the at-home voice AI into the vehicle include: 1) a consistent experience where ever they are, 2) access to technology that consumers already know how to use in increasingly technologically advanced vehicles, and 3) ability to maintain personalization features.
Customers are making purchasing decisions as a result
69% in the US and 67% in Germany are more likely to buy from a certain car company if the in-home voice AI is available in the car.
More than two-thirds of respondents said that they would be more likely to purchase a vehicle if it supported their preferred voice AI. Those numbers are even higher for Gen Y (81% in the US and 83% in Germany) and Gen Z (82% in the US and 81% in Germany) – an important consideration for automakers already thinking about software and infotainment options on future vehicle models.
Voice capability must go beyond vehicle-specific features
Navigation (88%), musical entertainment (70%), and turning driver warnings on and off (67%) are the top features US consumers want to be able to use with their voice AI in the vehicle. Navigation (81%), musical entertainment (70%), and automotive services (70%) are the top features German consumers want to be able to use with their voice AI in the vehicle.
While consumers are looking for the in-vehicle voice AI to be able to support functions and experiences unique to the in-vehicle environment such as vehicle controls, they also want to connect to the world around them with their voice. They want to be able to use navigation and automotive services such as finding and paying for gas, charging, and parking, with almost three-quarters of respondents in Germany identifying automotive services as a desire (compared to over half of US respondents). They also want access to all of their entertainment options, from controlling the tuner in their vehicle to streaming content from their favorite services. The key for automakers is to seamlessly blend things like infotainment, vehicle controls, and connectivity to services along the drive with cloud-based voice AI.
Takeaways for automakers and dealers
First, cloud-based voice AI services are improving the experience for customers, helping to bring all of the desired features into the vehicle.
Second, customers are looking for consistency and simplicity. They want their experiences, preferences, and interactions connected in a way that makes daily life easier and more convenient.
Third, the availability of voice AI in the vehicle will increasingly impact vehicle purchase decisions. This is especially important as younger generations begin shopping for their first vehicle.
What does this mean for automakers? Automakers can benefit from seeking out hardware and software systems that can accommodate advanced, cloud-based voice AI, and supporting services that provide customers with more choice, flexibility, and control over their in-vehicle experience.
What does this mean for dealers? Dealers can benefit by demonstrating voice technology on the lot to help support consideration and purchase. Further, helping get customers set up with the voice AI at delivery will make it easy for customers to start using the technology on that first drive in their new vehicle.
Whereas many in-vehicle voice services are limited to specific vehicle functions, Alexa in the vehicle is an extension of the experience used by customers every day at home, contextualizing the experience for the vehicle. More and more, customers are choosing to bring Alexa along for the ride—and interacting with Alexa in the car more than ever. Automotive developers looking to integrate Alexa into vehicles can access the Alexa Auto SDK and start developing today.
Survey Methodology: The study surveyed 2016-2021 model year vehicle owners that own an in-home voice assistant device with 5,000 completes in the US and 780 completes in Germany. The survey was conducted online in the US between September 1-25, 2020 and between September 1-14, 2020 in Germany.