Toyota Motor North America will introduce Google Cloud’s artificial intelligence (AI)-based speech services in certain Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the US.

    This Google-developed ‘Speech On-Device‘ technology builds on the technology that’s present in Google Assistant, but allows the speech services to be embedded on a device without the need for internet connection.

    This means that if you’re out in the middle of nowhere with no internet and you ask the voice assistant to do something, it should theoretically just work.

    Vehicles in the US including the 2023 Toyota Corolla, Tundra and Sequoia, and Lexus NX, RX and RZ with the company’s latest Linux-based infotainment systems already use Google Cloud’s Speech-To-Text service, but until now this required an internet connection to work.

    It’s unclear when any of this Google-developed Speech On-Device technology will make its way to Australian Toyota and Lexus models.

    Toyota Motor Australia recently announced its range of app- and cloud-based ‘connected services’, which will be first rolled out with the Corolla Cross SUV.

    The company will give the gamut of services to customers for free for 12 months, after which time they’ll be offered the choice of three packages.

    The top-tier package, called Toyota Connected Multimedia and priced at $12.50 per month after the initial 12 months, gets a connected voice assistant that can be activated by saying “Hey, Toyota”, among a raft of other safety and remote services.

    Toyota isn’t the first to turn to a tech giant to assist with voice assistant technology.

    BMW recently announced its first vehicles with a new-generation voice assistant based on Amazon Alexa will launch within the next two years.

    The BMW voice assistant will “work in cooperation” with Alexa, and allow customers to control music, remotely manage their smart home, add items to a shopping, or check the weather, as examples.

    Customers will apparently be able to choose to use either the BMW voice assistant and Alexa individually, or have both assistants work alongside each other.

    Jaguar also introduced Amazon Alexa to the electric I-Pace in Australia earlier in 2022, filtering it out to all Jaguar and Land Rover models with the Pivi Pro infotainment system via an over-the-air (OTA) software update.

    Ford allows owners to access the Amazon assistant through an app in its Sync 4 infotainment system, while Audi, BMW and Lexus offer inbuilt Alexa in some parts of the world.

    MORE: Toyota Connected Services arrive with subscription plans
    MORE: Next-gen BMW voice assistant to be built on Amazon Alexa
    MORE: The future of connected cars: Testing the Alexa connected car
    MORE: Amazon Echo Auto: Extending the smart home to your car

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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