CES2017: Ford teams up with Amazon Alexa for in house and in car control

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Ford and Amazon have teamed up to offer consumers the ability to access their car from their home, and call up other features from their vehicle via Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service.

The Alexa integration will allow Ford owners to play and resume audiobooks, order items on Amazon, search for and transfer local destinations to the in-car navigation system, and much more.

Ford will roll out its Alexa integration in two phases. The first, available later this month, connects you to your car from the comfort of home through Alexa devices such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Amazon Tap.

The second, expected this summer, allows you to tap into a broad set of Alexa skills using your voice while driving – helping you keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

Ford drivers with SYNC 3 will be able to ask Alexa to read weather reports, play music, check news, add items to shopping lists and more – all from their car. For instance, you could ask Alexa to add milk or batteries to your shopping list without ever picking up a pen.

Inside the vehicle, drivers can ask Alexa to locate a desired destination. Alexa will use the vehicle location to find nearby businesses. For example, customers could say, “Alexa, find the nearest Italian restaurant.” Once the driver chooses the desired destination, Alexa can transfer the address to the SYNC 3 navigation system.

Customers can also continue experiencing their favourite books on the road. Using Whispersync for Voice, Alexa will switch to an Audible audiobook recording to resume reading where the driver left off.

It will also be possible to access Alexa’s many smart home devices to control lighting, security systems, thermostats and more from the vehicle.

From home, Ford vehicle owners will be able to remote start, lock or unlock doors, and get vehicle information using voice commands.

Says Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services:

“Ford and Amazon are aligned around a vision that your voice should be the primary way to interface with your favourite devices and services.

“Customers will be able to start their vehicles from home, and manage smart home features while on the road – making life easier.”

Adds Steve Rabuchin, vice president, Amazon Alexa:

“We’re excited to work with Ford to enhance the driver experience both inside and outside of the vehicle. We believe voice is the future, and this is particularly true in cars.”

Ford isn’t the first car maker to try to integrate the smart home and car — Mercedes-Benz joined Nest’s developer platform three years ago, allowing drivers to control their home thermostat from the driver’s seat.

However, it is expected to be the first to offer such comprehensive control using Amazon’s Alexa.

For more information you can see the YouTube video below.

Chris Price