Amazon is expanding the uses for Alexa, its voice-activated digital assistant, and will soon find its way into future BMW vehicles.
According to a news report in TechCrunch, BMW is gearing up to have Alexa in the cockpit of some of its vehicles beginning next year. The revelation came during an event Amazon held on Wednesday (Sept. 27) at its headquarters in Seattle, Washington to unveil a slew of new products.
Starting in mid-2018, Alexa’s integration into BMW vehicles will give drivers access to Alexa skills and voice-activated services directly from the car’s infotainment system. Ford already has a test version of its SYNC in-car infotainment system – which was unveiled during the CES trade show that is held each year in Las Vegas – that has Alexa integrated in it, noted the report.
With the new partnership, BMW will be incorporating far-field microphones into the vehicle to make it easier to interact with the voice assistant. The visual output will be displayed on the navigation and information display, noted TechCrunch.
In January during the CES trade show, German car manufacturer Volkswagen announced it was integrating Amazon’s Alexa into its new cars, allowing users to access her “skills” from inside and outside the car.
The AI technology will enable drivers and passengers to navigate better, unlock the vehicle itself and operate smartphones and other devices from the car. In addition, Volkswagen said Alexa will connect with its Car-Net system, which launched in 2013 and allows users to monitor speed, locate the vehicle in a parking lot and alert authorities in case of an accident or airbag deployment. Alexa will be able to report functionality of the car, including how windshield wipers are working and the amount of fuel or oil.