SEAT adds Amazon Alexa to Leon and Ateca models

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SEAT has become the first automotive brand in Europe to launch Amazon Alexa in its vehicle line-up, expanding its digital ecosystem and connectivity offerings.

As our lives become increasingly busy, bringing Amazon Alexa into the car means customers can optimise their time behind the wheel – whether that’s managing their personal schedule, playing music, navigating to points of interest, requesting personalised news or finding their nearest SEAT dealership.

The SEAT Media Control with Amazon Alexa app not only increases the amount of functionality available in the car, but also simplifies access to those key functions.

All users need to do is press the control button on the steering wheel and speak. However it’s only available for Android users at present.

SEAT is beginning the roll out of Amazon Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service, in its vehicles, giving customers access to a host of functions accessible through simple voice commands.

Launched in 2014, Amazon Alexa now has more than 45,000 skills thanks to the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), which encourages developers to continually expand and evolve the Alexa’s capabilities.

Services are now available in the UK on model year 19 Leon and Ateca models equipped with navigation, via the Android SEAT Media Control with Amazon Alexa app.

Simply download SEAT Media Control with Amazon Alexa from the Android PlayStore, connect it to the vehicle and the voice service is ready to use.

Says SEAT President Luca de Meo:

“As functionality and connectivity levels increase, we have to find a balance between usability and safety. Introducing Amazon Alexa helps us find that balance.”

“With just a tap of the steering wheel, customers will be able to ask Alexa for music, points of interest and much more without taking their eyes off the road.”

However, installing Alexa in cars isn’t without security risk reckons David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

“Installing Amazon Alexa in cars offers new opportunities, but it also adds security issues. Everyone wants to enjoy the convenience of new gadgets, but there needs to be a compromise between convenience and security. This new technology represents a proliferation of devices holding and sending/receiving personal data, so car manufacturers need to ensure that this technology is secure.

“Since the technology behind the Amazon Echo is powered by AI, it stores command history to help make the device “smarter”. That way, it can better respond to future commands. While the reasoning behind storing command data is sound, imagine what could go wrong if someone else could get access to that?

“Even if Amazon doesn’t do anything questionable with your interactions whilst you are in your vehicle, it does store them in the cloud, which isn’t totally hacker-proof. As this technology could let people control their smart home from their cars, manufacturers must do everything to ensure that the network cannot be compromised.”

Chris Price