Audi, Renault, Honda to use Alibaba's smart speaker

Audi, Renault and Honda vehicles in China will feature Alibaba’s Tmall Genie Auto smart speaker, the Chinese tech company said at the CES Asia 2019 tech trade show in Shanghai, reported by Reuters. The artificial intelligence-powered, voice-controlled assistant will allow drivers to use voice commands to place orders on Alibaba’s online retail platform and buy movie tickets, for example.

Alibaba, in a joint statement with the three carmakers, said that in the near future, the Tmall Genie Auto will also allow drivers to monitor and control smart devices in houses equipped with a Tmall Genie-compatible device.

“We are thrilled to partner with global, distinguished auto brands such as Audi, Renault and Honda. Together, we can greatly enhance our in-car services and make driving experiences more intelligent and interconnected,” said Miffy Chen, GM at Alibaba AI Labs.

The report points out that the Tmall Genie is akin to Amazon’s Echo. Alibaba launched the device in 2017 and released a car version of it in April 2018. Other automakers that have said they will install the smart speaker in their products include BMW and Geely-owned Volvo. US-based Amazon’s car version of the Echo, called Echo Auto, was announced in September last year.

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