Partnerships / Acquisitions

Ford Incorporating Amazon’s Alexa Into Some Cars

Ford is making it possible for some drivers to use Amazon’s Alexa to get the heat going in their house from the comfort of their cars.

According to a report, Ford said the Focus Electric, Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi will have the ability to communicate with smart home devices that use Alexa by simply pressing a voice recognition button on the steering wheel. The feature will be available by the end of year.

Consumers will also be able to send instructions to their vehicles by using Amazon’s Echo and Alexa, its personal digital assistant. According to the report, the service is in the final phase of testing with Amazon ahead of the planned release at the end of 2016. The report noted some of the things Alexa will be able to do is preset the temperature in the home, check to make sure the security system is turned on and turn on the outside lights — all without getting out of the car. At home, thanks to an Alexa-enabled Echo, users will be able to start their cars, unlock or lock the doors and check the range between charges for the electric vehicles. Alexa can also update shopping lists, get the weather, cue up music in the car and check your appointments. A Ford spokesman said some of the features will be rolled out to other models starting next year.

Ford is profitable today — and low fuel prices have been especially good for the automaker’s SUV and truck lines — but nonetheless, Ford is thinking past today’s success and looking to a world where cars aren’t running on gas at all. The automaker is in talks with Alphabet to tie the iconic car brand to Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is also the home of Ford’s recent tech efforts, which may in the future include a business unit dedicated entirely to autonomous cars for use in ridesharing and fleets. Ford would develop software for steering or braking, while Google would create autonomous-driving AI that governs those functions, according to some sources.

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