The Seattle retail and cloud services powerhouse plans to use the annual technology show in Las Vegas to unveil its decision to be a serious player in self-driving vehicle technology, connected cars, electric vehicles and management of the torrents of knowledge generated by automakers and drivers, company executives told Reuters.
Amazon Web Services, which provides large-scale cloud computing and data management services, is central to Amazon’s strategy.
« We really are extending ourselves more and more call at the ecosystem from manufacturing to the connected car, » Jon Allen, head of professional services on Amazon Web Services’ automotive practice, said during an interview. « The takeaway message on this is often if you attend CES this year we actually are taking it as a ‘One Amazon’ view. »
Until now, Amazon has shown its transportation strategy to investors – and rivals – one piece at a time. Amazon has invested in self-driving software startup Aurora. It also has signed deals with automakers to deliver packages to vehicle trunks, help develop electric vehicle charging networks and use AWS to network their factories.
The Seattle company will share the CES stage with partners like computer game firm ZeroLight, electric vehicle startup Rivian, Canada’s BlackBerry Ltd and computer game software development company Unity Technologies.
At CES, ZeroLight and General Motors Co’s Cadillac will demonstrate how they’re partnering to develop a web vehicle configuration experience which will allow high-fidelity images of vehicles that buyers build online to be crazy them on visits to dealers, Phillips said.
The process can open the door to dealers better meeting customer needs by knowing what users focused on when building their dream car.
It’s already boosted profit per vehicle at Volkswagen’s Audi brand by an estimated ($1,340), he said.
Rivian, during which Amazon has twice invested, will demonstrate Alexa within the R1T electric pickup it’ll begin building this fall, also because the companion R1S SUV which will follow, Phillips said. Rivian will begin building 100,000 electric delivery vans for Amazon starting in 2021. Alexa is going to be integrated into all of these vehicles, Amazon said.
BlackBerry and Karma Automotive, using AWS back-end services, will demonstrate the way to better predict an electrical car’s battery health, allowing automakers to coach drivers on the way to drive in ways in which will extend the battery’s lifetime, he said.
Some industry officials fear the loss of profits to technology companies, but Amazon has worked to woo the world by showing greater flexibility to company needs.
As an example, when Alexa is launched in GM cars within the U.S. market next year, it’ll be push-button activated and not use the wake word, « Alexa, » Amazon officials said.
A new in-car feature, using the voice command « Alexa, buy gas, » will enable users to shop for fuel at 11,500 Exxon and Mobil gas stations, Amazon said.