Connected vehicle services provider Parkopedia, a finalist in the Asset Finance Connect Summer Awards mobility services innovation category, has launched a new Amazon Alexa Skill for voice-enabled parking assistance, supporting the millions of Americans who plan to travel by car this summer. The new functionality enables drivers to seamlessly find, reserve and pay for a parking spot, either from home with Alexa-enabled smart home devices, on-the-go with “Echo Buds” or the Alexa mobile app, or in the vehicle, using integrated Alexa or supported Alexa auto accessories.
The American Automobile Association estimates 50 million Americans will be on the roads next month, after its data showed a record-breaking 43.6 million Americans were estimated to have driven to their destinations during the July 1–5 period alone last year - the highest on record, and 5% more than the previous record set in 2019.
Using Amazon’s cloud-based voice service, drivers will have access to the Parkopedia database of almost 75,000 off-street parking locations across America, including more than 6,000 reservable locations - allowing drivers to find the nearest parking spot either to a given address, their current location, or at their final destination. Parking can also be booked “hands-free” in advance of, or during the journey, via any Alexa enabled device.
When a driver needs help finding the most convenient parking space, they can just say “Alexa, find parking nearby” or use locations, such as “Alexa, find parking in Seattle”, and Alexa will default to the Parkopedia Skill, providing users with information such as accurate parking location, pricing and facility opening hours, as well as confirming the required parking duration and total cost prior to booking. If a location has multiple parking options, drivers can ask Alexa to skip suggestions until they find a parking spot which best suits their needs.
Drivers are also able to ask the Parkopedia Skill to verbally confirm reservations, make payments via Amazon Pay, or request for an e-receipt to be sent.
In-car payment system
Delegates at last week’s Asset Finance Connect Summer Conference heard former Hyundai Motor Europe CEO now consultant Tony Whitehorn forecast the emergence of the car as a “wallet”, providing an frictionless payment service from the driver’s seat.
Data from Juniper Research shows that by 2024, the number of voice-interactive devices in use (8.4 billion) is expected to overtake the world’s population, partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic creating a surge of interest in contactless, voice-based interfaces. When used behind the wheel, voice assistants can simplify vehicle operability, help keep drivers’ hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, and enable a more comfortable driving experience.
Eugene Tsyrklevich, founder and CEO of Parkopedia, commented: “The growing popularity of at-home voice assistants means consumers now expect a seamless transition with this technology between work, home and in-car environments. When behind the wheel, one voice command can replace several manual actions, vastly improving safety and efficiency. The latest generation of voice assistants now also utilize AI to learn and think - understanding a variety of accents and gaining the ability to action more than one command at a time, as well as analyzing user data to learn individual preferences. The latest Parkopedia Alexa Skill is a progressive step forward for hands-free, in-car driver convenience technology, which is core to our product portfolio and continues to improve the driving experience.”
The Parkopedia Skill is planned to expand in the near future to cover more of the company’s existing services, such as on-street parking and dynamic predictably, which directs the driver to the nearest, available parking space, as well as finding parking at known locations, such as ‘work’ or ‘home’ and advising drivers of the distance from the suggested parking space to their final destination.
Asset Finance Connect Summer Awards
The winners of the Asset Finance Connect Summer Awards will be announced on 13 July in an event at the Hurlingham Club in London. Details of the event categories are here.
To book a place to attend the event, go here.