At CES 2023, Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America, a global expert in connected automotive infotainment solutions and division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, announced an update for its SkipGen in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system by demonstrating an industry-first automotive integration that provides customers simultaneous access to Siri while using Apple CarPlay or Alexa by simply speaking either “Hey Siri” or “Alexa”, respectively.
Panasonic Automotive’s SkipGen creates a customer friendly experience for in-vehicle voice requests through the company’s deep experience integrating Apple CarPlay with their offerings, paired with the implementation of Amazon’s latest Alexa Auto SDK. On SkipGen, some customers may want to use Siri for iPhone features in Apple CarPlay, or Alexa for in-vehicle controls and more. This increases customer value by providing simultaneous access to Siri and Alexa with their corresponding capabilities on a single system through the wake words.
Currently, 123.5 million U.S. adults will use voice assistants at least once per month, and that number is forecast to grow to 126.8 million – nearly half of U.S. adults – by 2025. Voice services are becoming more capable every day, but to be truly useful, they need to be readily accessible wherever and whenever customers need them by providing more choice. That is why Amazon and Panasonic Automotive have collaborated to develop this integration for SkipGen, which is enabled by the Alexa Auto SDK, and relies on Panasonic’s deep experience integrating Siri and CarPlay into automotive systems.
“Our latest integration with Amazon’s SDK builds on our strong multi-year relationship and collaboration to elevate ambient digital experiences across different environments,” said Andrew Poliak, CTO of Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America. “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.”
“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,” said Aaron Rubenson, VP of Amazon Alexa. “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.”
Amazon founded the Voice Interoperability Initiative (VII), a program with the mission to ensure voice-enabled products provide customers with choice and flexibility by supporting multiple voice AIs simultaneously on a single device. Amazon launched VII in 2019 with 35 companies, and that number is now over 90 members strong.
In addition to the benefits of the multi-assistant integration, the Alexa Auto SDK provides core Alexa functionality, such as wake word detection, speech recognition, and synthesis. It also offers capabilities for customising car control features, monitoring and controlling smart home devices, getting weather reports, interacting with media playback, executing local search and navigation, and accessing local voice control to use certain Alexa features when internet connectivity is unavailable.
“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,” said Anes Hodzic, VP of Amazon Smart Vehicles. “We’re thrilled to partner with Panasonic Automotive to enable this functionality for automakers, and continue on our vision to deliver personalised, proactive, and intuitive digital experiences that delight drivers and passengers.”