Amazon makes it simpler for infotainment developers to integrate Alexa Auto

Ford Amazon Alexa

Amazon just made it considerably easier for car companies to integrate Alexa Auto into their native infotainment systems. The tech and retail giant released an Alexa Auto software development kit (SDK) anyone can download for free on GitHub.

The long list of features bundled in the SDK includes media streaming from services like Audible, iHeartRadio, and, you guessed it, Amazon Music. Amazon also added core functions such as speech recognition and synthesis, smartphone device control, weather reports, notifications (for social media and email), and tens of thousands of custom skills the company hasn’t fully detailed yet. Users will also be able to search for local restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters, hotels, and other businesses. They’ll also be able to request turn-by-turn directions to their chosen location. Finally, Alexa Auto includes the ability to make and receive phone calls.

These features promise to make driving safer and more convenient by eliminating distractions. For example, motorists who drive an Alexa-compatible car will be able to say “Alexa, turn on the ceiling fan and the kitchen lights” and come home to a well-lit, well-ventilated house. They’ll also be capable of finding the nearest taco joint, requesting a song by The Offspring, or making a to-do list, all without taking their hands off the steering wheel or their eyes off the road.

If some of those features sound familiar, it’s likely because Android Auto and Apple CarPlay perform roughly the same functions. Amazon’s announcement means Google and Apple will no longer have to settle for worrying about each other; they’ll need to fend off Amazon, too.

Some automakers chose not to wait for the SDK’s release to start integrating Alexa into their cars. BMW, Ford, Hyundai, and Toyota are among the companies already working with the technology. Toyota notably integrated Amazon’s cloud-based digital assistant into its new Entune 3.0 infotainment system, which is available on the 2018 Camry and the 2018 Sienna, among other models.

Anker and Garmin have followed this trend, too. The former sells an Alexa-compatible USB car charger that lets motorists make phone calls and stream music. The latter’s Garmin Speak takes the form of a windshield-mounted device that brings Alexa and all of its functions into the car. both are ways to bring older cars into the 21st century. Now that the SDK is out in the open, expect the list of Alexa-compatible cars and devices to grow considerably.

Smart Home

Alexa can play smart home camera video recaps on Echo, Fire devices

Now you can ask Alexa to show the last recorded video from smart home security cameras on Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV, and Fire Tablets. Video replay is enabled for Ring, August, Arlo, Cloud Cam, and Logitech cameras.
Smart Home

The Glas thermostat is now available and works with Cortana, Alexa, and Google

Microsoft just debuted its very own smart thermostat (the first that it's created), and of course, it can be controlled via voice with Microsoft's virtual assistant Cortana. It also works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Smart Home

Cortana and Alexa can now call each other as new relationship begins

Microsoft and Amazon announced a public preview of Cortana and Alexa integration. U.S. customers can now open Cortana with Alexa and vice versa. Basic functions such as calendars and shopping lists are available with the preview.
Smart Home

Amazon to launch Alexa in Mexico later this year, following June debut in France

After successful launches in Germany, Japan and India, Amazon launched its Alexa-enabled Echo devices in France in June with localized features. Alexa will launch in Mexico later this year.
Cars

Live out your Steve McQueen fantasies with this souped-up Ford Mustang Bullitt

Ford tuner Steeda teamed up with Chad McQueen, son of Steve McQueen to create the ultimate 'Bullitt' tribute car. It's an upgraded version of the recently launched 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt.
Cars

Volvo leverages the power of software to build more dynamic cars

Volvo has asked sister company Polestar to make its cars more dynamic to drive through a software update. Offered at an extra cost, the AWD optimization upgrade sends more power to the rear wheels when the driver turns on dynamic mode.
Emerging Tech

This robot arm could soon recharge your electric car, no driver effort required

Researchers in Austria have developed a smart robotic charger that can automatically plug itself into any electric vehicle, no driver effort required whatsoever. What could be simpler?
Cars

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.
Cars

Can BMW’s rebooted 3 Series regain gold standard for sport sedans?

The BMW 3 Series lost its way in 2012; once the gold standard in the sport sedan segment, it disappointed by not living up to BMW's promise of delivering the ultimate driving machine. Can the new model right those wrongs?
Cars

Learn how Ford trains the test drivers who develop its hottest performance cars

Out of 11,000 Ford test drivers, only about 20 have achieved the elite "tier-four" status that qualifies them to work on performance cars. Here's how those drivers earn their stripes.
Cars

Sporty electrified Infiniti Prototype 10 concept headed to Pebble Beach

Infiniti will unveil a new concept car at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The Nissan luxury brand won't say much, but promises an electrified powertrain and an emphasis on performance.
Cars

Ford’s Mustang Cobra Jet strikes as quickly as its venomous namesake

The 2018 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet is a purpose-built drag racer that will run the quarter mile in around eight seconds, according to Ford. It will be as rare as it is quick, with just 68 cars planned.
Product Review

Grins come standard: Mazda's 2019 MX-5 Miata will plaster a smile on your face

We take Mazda’s updated 2019 MX-5 Miata on a road trip from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco to experience the updates. With a revised engine and more power, the already awesome Miata gets even better.
Cars

How to watch Formula 1 online

There are plenty of Formula 1 races every year, many of which take place in some of the most beautiful cities in the world. Check out our brief guide on how to watch Formula 1 online, if you're looking to keep up on the action.