A trend quickly developing at CES 2019 is the entry of Amazon Alexa into the car, with numerous announcements linking the digital assistant into the fundamentals of future vehicles.
We’ve already seen Amazon’s smart assistant feature in cars in a number of implementations, but what’s being shown in Las Vegas, Nevada, this week sees Alexa baked into the core of vehicles, rather than added as more of a third-party after thought.
Amazon’s Echo speakers have become hugely popular in homes, with the ‘Alexa’ wake word now a familiar phrase for many. It makes sense for this experience to transition to your car, where hands-free functionality is even more useful.
Alexa isn’t just being used for entertainment either, with the voice assistant able to perform car-specific tasks. Here’s what you can expect to see from Alexa in future vehicles.
It’s no surprise that a core part of the Amazon Alexa integrations we’ve seen at CES 2019 revolve around the firm’s entertainment offerings.
Electric car maker Byton has packed Alexa into its first ever car – the M-Byte – which is expected to roll off production lines by the end of the year, complete with support for Amazon Music, Prime Video, Fire TV and Audible.
You’ll be able to bark instructions at your Byton, via Alexa, to play music, watch video and listening to audiobooks.
The same features are likely to hit more cars too, as Qualcomm has showed off a concept vehicle with Alexa built in, and we watched a demo where the assistant was asked to play some rock ‘n’ roll music, which she duly delivered.
It’s part of Qualcomm’s new third generation Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platforms and the chipset maker has 18 automakers already signed up, including Audi, BMW, Ford, Ducati, Honda, Renault and VW, to utilize the technology in future vehicles.
Alexa, take me home
Alexa is also getting mapping smarts, and could well be navigating you home in your next car as Here Technologies announced it is working with car-specific tools within Amazon’s smart assistant to help improve in-car navigation through voice interactions.
You’ll be able to ask Alexa to navigate to a destination, and also ask her what the next instruction is without having to physically touch any controls.
Qualcomm’s new platform also supports Alexa-powered navigation which, as we’ve already mentioned, could find its way into a whole host of vehicles.
Let’s play mechanic
Another trick we saw during Qualcomm’s demo was asking Alexa about illuminated warning lights on the dashboard.
Asking the smart assistant provided more information on the fault, which could potentially help when it comes to getting it fixed.
Fun Easter eggs
And finally, you may be able to have some fun with Alexa in your car too, with Qualcomm asking “Alexa, wake up my passenger” which resulted in the passenger seat vibrating. What larks!
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