Amazon launches new service that lets auto, device makers build customized voice assistants

Alexa Custom Assistant gives companies access to Alexa's AI smarts to build their own voice assistants.

Amazon is rolling out a new service that gives companies access to Alexa's AI smarts to build their own voice assistants. Amazon said the Alexa Custom Assistant lets automakers and device manufacturers create voice assistants that are built on Alexa technology and work in cooperation with Alexa. 

The company said this is the first time it's offering this type of access to its voice AI technology. Automaker Fiat Chrysler is the first to integrate Alexa Custom Assistant into its vehicles.

Among the key features of the service, Amazon is highlighting what it calls an industry-first capability of simultaneous multi-assistant cooperation. Essentially, two assistants -- Alexa and the branded assistant -- are able to co-exist and work together to fulfill customer requests. Alexa handles the typical Alexa skill stuff such as playing audio books, while the branded assistant functions as the product specialist for in-vehicle tasks, for instance, rolling down the window.   

Amazon manages the data and said it applies the same the "rigorous privacy privacy and security policies" that are in place for Alexa.

"By reducing the burden of building the core capabilities of an intelligent assistant, companies can focus their time and resources on creating unique capabilities that delight their customers," Amazon said in a blog post. The Alexa Custom Assistant makes this easy by enabling developers to leverage the familiar Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) technology to build bespoke capabilities tailored to their brand and accessed through a unique wake word. This robust development environment allows each Alexa Custom Assistant implementation to be tailored to the individual brand, product, and customer needs." 

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