Amazon wants Alexa embedded in every vehicle to connect with smart homes

amazon event takeaways echo auto press

Amazon is following up on Alexa’s successful penetration into smart homes with an incursion to embed the digital voice assistant in cars. There are plenty of third-party Alexa-compatible automotive aftermarket products such as GPS-powered navigation, dash cams, and headsets and headphones. Amazon’s Echo Auto, which was introduced last fall but has yet to ship, promises full Alexa functionality via a connection with the Alexa app on your smartphone.

Amazon’s best chances of owning the smart vehicle space lie within embedded automotive software systems. There’s even a group focused on Amazon’s in-car success: Amazon Alexa Automotive.

Amazon and car manufacturers began working together in 2016, Automotive News reports. At first, Alexa could report fuel levels and start vehicles. The next stage was Alexa working through car sound systems.

“The real North Star for us is to be embedded with all the cars,” Amazon Alexa Automotive vice president Ned Curic told Automotive News. “That’s where we want to get. We’re working very hard to get there because we believe that is the best experience.”

Curic also said the first targets would be luxury brands. Because upscale vehicles are more likely to include over-the-air (OTA) updating, they fit best with Amazon’s frequent software updates. Trickle-down technology innovation starting with a car maker’s most expensive brands. At times, as with Cadillac’s Super Cruise, the top tech is limited to the top model in the top brand’s lineup before appearing in the options list and eventually the standard equipment specs of other models in the brand.

Amazon’s Curic is keeping mum about the number of automakers with which his group is talking, or even naming names. Audi and BMW Group are leading the parade at this point, including BMW’s Mini brand.

According to Audi spokeswoman Amelia Fine-Morrison, Alexa first appeared in Audi’s new e-tron all-electric crossover. The next vehicle in the brand with Alexa onboard (or within the dashboard) will be the upcoming redesigned Q3. Eventually, but gradually, Fine-Morrison said, Audi will include Alexa in all models.

BMW’s senior vice president of digital services and business models Dieter May told Auto News the automaker’s desire to ensure a “seamless experience ” in BMW owners’ “digital lifestyles” between their homes and vehicles is the impetus behind partnering with Amazon and Alexa.

These are early days in connecting smart cars with smart homes. With a big player like Amazon already in full-bore mode, anyone else who wants a piece of the market either already is or better get busy wooing carmakers.

Product Review

You can’t ask for more in a budget robot vacuum with the Eufy RoboVac 15C MAX

If you're looking to get your first robot vacuum without breaking the bank, then the Eufy RoboVac 15C MAX is worth considering with its Wi-Fi connectivity, Google Assistant/Amazon Alexa integration, strong cleaning performance, and sleek…
Smart Home

Alexa’s Custom Interfaces hope to augment gadgets, games, and smart toys

Alexa is growing smarter again with a new feature for developers called Custom Interfaces. The feature is aimed at augmenting interactivity between users of Alexa-powered devices like Amazon's Echo and developer's newest products.

The results are in: Alexa is legitimately dumber than Siri and Google Assistant

If you’ve always thought Alexa was dumber than the other voice assistants in your house or on your phone, a new test performed by Loup Ventures might prove your theory correct. Alexa scored last in an IQ test against Google Assistant and…

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are some of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.

This 717-horsepower Dodge Charger is the ultimate family sedan

The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat gets a 10-horsepower boost, but only for a limited-edition model. The special Charger commemorates the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona -- one of the wildest American muscle cars.

2020 Honda Civic hatchback keeps the manual-transmission faith

The 2020 Honda Civic hatchback was treated to a subtle exterior facelift. Honda also expanded the availability of both the manual transmission and 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

2019 Audi E-Tron is the first electric car to earn top IIHS safety rating

The 2019 Audi E-Tron is the first electric car to earn an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating. But the IIHS hasn't tested the Audi's two main rivals -- the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X.

UPS partners with TuSimple to test self-driving semi-trucks

UPS has been carrying truckloads of goods in self-driving semi-trucks since May. The vehicles are being tested in Arizona routes between Phoenix and Tucson for better service and efficiency for UPS delivery.

Vintage Electric readies the Roadster Speed Merchant, a souped-up ebike

Vintage Electric introduced the latest in its line of retro-styled premium performance ebikes for fall 2019. The Vintage Roadster gets styling cues from board track racing motorcycles and its power from a 1,123-watt battery.

Infiniti’s Formula One-inspired Project Black S may enter production

The Infiniti Project Black S is a Q60 luxury coupe enhanced with a Formula One-inspired hybrid powertrain. The 563-horsepower car can sprint from zero to 62 mph in under four seconds, according to Infiniti.

Toyota raises the curtain on 2020 Corolla Nightshade Editions

The 2020 Toyota Corolla SE sedan and hatchback with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) will be available in Nightshade Editions, joining the Toyota 4Runner, Camry, Highlander, and Sienna with the blacked-out trim style option.

Here’s why your Uber or Lyft car always seems to be a Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is one of the most popular cars sold in the United States, and not just with retail buyers. Uber and Lyft drivers love the Camry for its reliability, according to a new report.

The electric Volkswagen ID Buggy makes even Ferrari drivers stop and stare

Volkswagen traveled to the 2019 Geneva Auto Show to introduce an electric dune buggy named ID Buggy, and Digital Trends drove it in California. It's a modern-day tribute to the 1960s Meyers Manx.

Infiniti will take on BMW and Mercedes-Benz with its own crossover coupe

Launching in 2020, the Infiniti QX55 will be a crossover coupe similar to models that have proven successful for BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Infiniti said the QX55 will have styling influenced by its early 2000s FX.