Listen Up: Amazon Putting Alexa Into More Automobiles
Amazon is striving to put Alexa, the home assistant/listening device, into more automobiles in the coming years. As a result, the company is working feverishly to enhance her vehicular-related capabilities — including wriggling her way into the embedded software systems of new cars.
On the surface, it sounds great. Networking your car with your smart home device opens up a bevy of new conveniences and Alexa should also help your car get better at understanding everyday voice commands. In the future, you’ll be able to order groceries, check the stock market, call the office, and adjust the thermostat of your house and car without ever having to take your hands off the steering wheel. But this also opens up a bevy of concerns, now that we know Amazon’s employees listen to and record pretty much everything you say to the device — sometimes doing the same for background conversations that were never intended for Alexa’s ears.
Talking Cars: Amazon Lets Loose Alexa Software Kit for Infotainment Systems
You’re likely familiar with Amazon’s cloud-based virtual home assistant Alexa. She’s the little voice that lives inside the Echo, a device which allows consumers to manage their calendar, set alarms, create a shopping list, adjust the thermostat, play music, and a multitude of other functions all via voice command. However, if you’re anything like me, you probably just ask Alexa to tell you bad jokes and read the morning news.
Alexa has found her way into cars lately — most notably those produced by Hyundai, thanks to a partnership with Amazon. But it looks like she’s about to find her way into a whole bunch more. On Thursday, Amazon announced the Alexa Auto Software Development Kit, which provides developers a way to easily integrate all of Alexa’s functions into automotive infotainment systems.
Hyundai Unveils Digital Showroom on Amazon
Yesterday was Amazon’s self-proclaimed shopping holiday — “Prime Day” or, as we like to call it, “the Lonesome Christmas.” But you already knew that, because our corporate overlords mandated a reminder necessary to help procure the revenue that yields us the modestly priced vehicles and canned soups we’ve become accustomed to.
Unfortunately, if you were surfing the website in the hopes if finding a good deal on an automobile, you were out of luck. Amazon didn’t have cars as of yesterday, but it’s making swift progress on that. The digital retailer launched a research site in 2016 that allowed customers to gather information while amassing auto parts, accessories, and tools — which can be purchased and delivered to your home.
The site is now taking things a step further, adding real cars. As of July 18th, its partnership with Hyundai extends beyond just Alexa integration via the automaker’s Blue Link technology. Amazon Vehicles promotes actual, physical cars, allowing you to browse and customize them much like you would a pair of pants, via a virtual showroom.
Amazon's 'Alexa' is the Automotive Life Partner You've Apparently Been Missing
Amazon’s Echo is a voice-operated smart device for your residence that, despite being notably gimmicky, has become increasingly popular with geeky homeowners. You can ask it for the weather, to read you a book, request a certain song, buy things for you online, adjust the thermostat, dim the lights, or schedule your calendar. My father has one and, because the device represents itself through a pleasant-sounding female voice calling itself Alexa, my mother refers to it as “his second wife.”
Soon, Alexa and the associated Echo technology will be available on Ford, Volkswagen, Hyundai, and BMW branded automobiles. The new feature should offer a catalog of in-car commands and can be set-up to work in tandem with a home device to do things like flip on the the lights prior to pulling into the driveway. While this might not drastically enhance your quality of living, it will feel incredibly futuristic for about two weeks.