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Need AAA roadside help? Just talk to Google or Alexa

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Tue, Sep 24th 2019 02:30 pm

New feature uses digital assistants to place service requests

By AAA of Western and Central New York

AAA members needing emergency service can now get help just by talking to their digital assistant. A new AAA-developed feature for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa allows members to forgo the call and make requests for some roadside service needs, such as fuel refills, battery replacements, or flat tire repairs, directly through their digital assistants.

“Roadside service is the leading reason members join AAA. With 1 in 3 calls originating from home, this new feature for Amazon Alexa and Google Home provides an innovative, convenient way for members to request service,” AAA Chief Technology Officer Ramon Millan said. “These sorts of services are something people have come to expect.”

There are about 118 million digital assistants in use in U.S. homes, and that number is growing every day.

Before using the feature – also called a “skill” – users must enable Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa on their smart device. To request help, members instruct Amazon Alexa to “Open AAA Road Service,” or tell Google Assistant to “Talk to AAA Road Service.” The skill works with home digital assistants, smartphones or tablets.

The first time a member uses the skill, they will be asked to provide information to confirm their AAA membership. Once that’s been done, the skill will talk them through the service-request process. In 2017, AAA unveiled a similar voice-activated service that allows members to find AAA-approved restaurants.

“This new feature has the potential to change the way many members interact with AAA – especially members who are digital natives,” Millan said.

For now, the skill allows members to make certain types of roadside service requests only. Those include battery boost/replacement, fuel delivery, vehicle lockout service and flat tire service. AAA is exploring opportunities to expand the system to accommodate full-service requests such as towing.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 880,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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