The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is using Amazon’s Alexa to enable motorists to check the status of their vehicle tax and MOT.
The agency has taken advantage of Amazon’s offer to allow third-party developers to build and host most Alexa skills using Amazon Web Services (AWS) free of charge.
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This means motorists can enable the DVLA Vehicle Enquiry Skill on their Alexa-enabled devices. When they read out their vehicle registration number to the intelligent voice service, Alexa then reads the information back, with information on when the vehicle tax or MOT is next due.
DVLA chief executive Oliver Morley said the agency was “excited about trialling an innovative skill that gives customers access to information about their vehicles”.
He added: “Providing choice in how people use our services is important to DVLA and by trialling this skill, we are giving customers another way to get information quickly and easily – helping them to keep on top of their vehicle tax.”
In 2014, the DLVA launched its digital tax disc service, abolishing paper tax discs. But recent figures show there has been a huge increase in the number of vehicles clamped for non-payment of tax since the physical discs were abolished.
Morley said using Alexa was an example of how the DVLA was “always looking to test new ways of providing digital services to make things simpler and better for the UK’s motorists”.
He said it was part of the agency’s three-year strategy to make the DVLA a hub for digital motoring.
Earlier this month, the Met Office also launched its own Alexa skill, called “flash briefing”, which enables users to get a detailed 24-hour weather forecast for their region.
Met Office informatics specialist Niall Robinson described the skill as a “fantastic new way to bring weather forecasts into the modern home”.
“The way that people access the weather forecast is changing and it is important that we stay ahead of the curve by providing innovative new ways in which people can access our trusted forecasts,” he said.