Owners of an Amazon Echo or other Alexa-powered device can now tell Amazon’s digital brain to reserve a car2go vehicle.
A post on the car2go website pointed to the skill as an additional convenience for customers, giving them the ability to book cars hands-free. Once the new skill is enabled, users can tell Alexa to ask car2go to find the closest vehicle, reserve a car, get updates about the reservation, or cancel it.
Seattle is car2go’s biggest market in the U.S. with more than 100,000 members. A subsidiary of Daimler AG, which also owns Mercedes-Benz, car2go has been steadily adding new features and services, such as expanding beyond the small Smart cars to include larger four-door Mercedes-Benz models to its car sharing fleet. It is competing with a variety of other services, including BMW’s ReachNow.
Amazon’s early lead in the competitive voice market can be partially attributed to the company’s decision to open the digital brain up to developers and device manufacturers in 2015. The Alexa Skills Kit encourages third-party developers to build skills for Alexa. Developers who want to add to Alexa’s abilities can write code that works with Alexa in the cloud, letting the smart assistant do the heavy lifting of understanding and deciphering spoken commands.
That has led Alexa to amass more than 25,000 skills. In addition to its special set of skills, Amazon wants to make it easy for Alexa to make her way to a variety of devices.
Just last month Amazon introduced a new set of tools to help commercial device makers build the technology into their products. Amazon also opened up what amounts to Alexa’s ears, her 7-Mic Voice Processing Technology, to third party hardware makers who want to build the digital brain into their devices. Amazon opened up Amazon Lex, the artificial intelligence technology that powers Alexa to developers.