GM Lets Car Owners Download Alexa Software


General Motors will let U.S. owners of vehicles that are 2018 models or newer download Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant software to control phones, navigation and streaming media.

GM noted earlier in September that it would embed Alphabet’s Google technology into vehicle dashboards sold outside of China beginning in 2021, Reuters reported.

Santiago Chamorro, GM’s vice president for Global Connected Services, said customers would have the ability to choose which voice concierge service they’d like use in the end: Alexa, Google, standard voice controls with the car, or an app embedded in a phone.

“We believe in a future where the customer has options,” said Ned Curic, vice president of Alexa Auto at Amazon.

The deal is the newest in a series of moves for GM to embrace broadly-used technology industry brands. While GM, as well as other automakers, have attempted to tap into automotive suppliers to create infotainment tech in-house, Reuters reported that “customers have panned the results.” They have embraced digital assistants like Google Voice, Apple’s Siri or Alexa instead.

The shift of GM to Amazon and Google to provide interactive dashboard software has reportedly had an impact on companies that supply navigation and infotainment systems. Telenav Inc. — GM in-dash navigation services supplier — has had its shares lose half of their value as of the time that GM announced its Alphabet deal.

Earlier this month, reports surfaced that GM planned to add Google apps capability to its cars in 2021. Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC vehicles will have in-car voice, navigation and other Google-enabled capabilities.

GM started shipping vehicles with Android Automotive OS in 2017, beginning with integration in the Cadillac CTS, and then expanding to other cars. It is based on the operating system that runs on tablets and phones but was modified to work with cars. The services will be embedded in the car’s operating system. That means drivers can access the same features they use on their phones from their vehicles.