In-car features roll out this summer
At the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Ford announced that it has teamed up with Amazon to bring its Alexa virtual assistant to vehicles equipped with Sync 3. The automaker says it will be the first in-car application of the cloud-based voice service when the functionality rolls out this summer.
Alexa will be available in Ford vehicles with Sync 3 AppLink, and can be accessed through a button on the steering wheel followed by a voice command. Drivers will be able to ask Alexa to find restaurants or other nearby businesses, bring up driving directions, play audiobooks, and more. The in-car features are currently being beta tested with Ford employees.
The in-car Alexa features will launch in the summer, but home functions will be available starting later this month for Ford Focus Electric, Fusion Energi, and C-Max Energi models. Using your Amazon Echo, you can ask Alexa to start your car, lock or unlock the doors, check charge status and range, or retrieve mileage.
Just yesterday, Ford doubled down on its support of SmartDeviceLink (SDL) smartphone integration software, joining Toyota in announcing that it has formed an alliance with other automakers and suppliers to develop an industry standard for smartphone apps in cars. Amazon is one of the companies that has joined the SDL Consortium, so we could see more in-car applications of Alexa from other automakers in the future.