Here is developing a car navigation system powered by Alexa

A worthy adversary for CarPlay and Android Auto?

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Michael H via Getty Images
Michael H via Getty Images

Here is building some kind of in-car navigation system powered by Amazon's Alexa assistant. The new "one-stop solution for automakers," called Here Navigation On-Demand, will be sold to manufacturers as (shudder) software-as-a-service. In layman's terms, that means it will sit on top of existing infotainment platforms and operating systems. Details are light at the moment, but Here says it will be a truly "voice-first car navigation experience that keeps users focused on the road." We also know that the software will leverage Alexa Auto, the development kit that Amazon released last August, to give drivers personalized advice.

"Our work with Amazon will drive a truly differentiated and delightful user experience," Edzard Overbeek, CEO of Here Technologies said.

As part of the deal, Here is giving Amazon access to some of its location data. That means anyone -- both inside and outside the car -- will be able to ask Alexa for optimal routes, points of interest and live traffic information. Here is envisioning a world where drivers seamlessly interact with its mapping services throughout the day. At home, for instance, you might set a reminder to pick up some groceries after work. Then, once your shift has wrapped up, Here's in-car navigation system will find the best route to the store based on your location and how congested specific streets are.

Here Maps with Alexa

In the future, Amazon and Here will develop Alexa to be a more natural and conversational navigator. Some day, Here promises, you'll be able to ask "Alexa, where do I turn?" and the assistant will respond with something like "turn directly after the [designated building]." For Here, of course, the collaboration is a simple way to keep pace with Apple and Google, who are pushing their own voice-enabled navigation systems. It's also attractive to drivers, and by extension car manufacturers, who already own Echo products and want to stay in the ecosystem. And for Amazon, of course, it's another foothold in the fiercely competitive auto industry.

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