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Ford has teamed up with Amazon to create a personal driving assistant

We take a look at Alexa in the Car which was unveiled at this year’s CES.

Image: Ford Media

AT THIS YEAR’S Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Ford announced that it is going to turn its vehicles into super smart devices by connecting them to Amazon’s Alexa service.

Ford says that Alexa will be in some of its vehicles by this summer.

What is it?

Alexa is a voice-operated intelligent personal assistant service from retail giant Amazon, designed for use in the home. It is now being integrated into future Ford vehicles – meaning you can operate your car from home and your home from the car.

All you have to do is tap the voice recognition button on the steering wheel, then say ‘Alexa’ followed by a question or command.

What does it do?

Source: Ford Media

Alexa has many skills, and as it is a cloud-based platform its skill set is (theoretically) constantly growing. What this means is that Ford vehicle owners will have the ability to access their car from home, and call up other features from their vehicle.

A simple function might be to continue listening to an audiobook between your home and car. You should also be able to add items to a shopping list or check weather, news, sport results and so on – all without having to use your hands.

A more advanced use would be to tell Alexa via an Amazon Echo device to start the car’s engine and to turn on the heat. Or to tell Alexa to open or lock your car or to turn on or off the alarm. You can do this from the comfort of your own home.

From the car, you can access functions of any smart devices that you have in your home. For example, you can tell Alexa to turn on your house lights, turn on the heating, warm up the water, start the dishwasher, turn on the oven, turn on the radio or shut your garage door or electric gates. You can even tell Alexa to make a pot of coffee and put on the toaster so you can have food ready as soon as you get home!

Can I check it out in action? 

Watch all the ways you can make Alexa work for you and your car.

Source: Ford Media/YouTube

Why would I want it?

Think how much easier Alexa would make your life? Imagine driving home one cold night and being able to have your home toasty warm and dinner ready for you by the time you reach your driveway.

No more getting lost or fiddling with the sat-nav – all you have to do is tell Alexa to add the directions to your infotainment system.

You can also train Alexa in new skills and develop your own commands specific to the devices in your home and your own driving preferences. It is – again, theoretically – like having your own personal maid, butler and PA all in one and at your disposal 24/7.

Source: Ford Media

What do users say?

There are no user reviews yet. But unsurprisingly, the manufacturers are very positive. Don Butler, Executive Director of Ford Connected Vehicle and Services said:

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

Also speaking about Alexa in the Car, Steve Rabuchin, Vice President, Amazon Alexa commented:

We believe voice is the future, and this is particularly true in cars. The ability to use your voice to control your smart home, access entertainment, manage to-do lists and more makes for an extraordinary driving experience.

READ: Car review – the Nissan Pulsar is practical and predictable but does it have a pulse? >

READ: The best and worst car concepts from CES >

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About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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