Amazon doesn’t even have a formal presence at CES 2017 but you’d never know it by the number of times Alexa is being mentioned on the show floor. She’s in speakers, baby monitors, and now she’s sharing the stage with Ford as the automaker is finally showing off how she’ll act behind the wheel. Ford’s SYNC 3 AppLink software is going to make it possible to access Alexa’s ever growing list of skills and voice commands while you’re behind the wheel, and even control some of your car’s functions while you’re sitting in your living room.
With Alexa in the car, you’ll be able to do things like ask her to play music, start an audiobook, and add stuff to your Amazon lists, which are all pretty basic bits of functionality. However, it’s Alexa’s car-to-home and home-to-car features that will really make it worth using. For example, you can ask Alexa in your car to turn on your lights at home or open your garage door as you approach. She can also control your security system remotely.
If you have a compatible vehicle, you’ll even be able to have Alexa start your car ahead of time, from inside your home. She’ll also be able to unlock or lock your vehicle doors and let you know how much gas or electric charge you currently have in your ride. It all sounds extremely slick, and Ford is pretty proud of the fact that it’s the first carmaker to allow Alexa behind the wheel.
Ford and Amazon have been buddy-buddy for some time now, but the car company’s actual implementation of many Alexa features remained up in the air. Today’s announcements helped to clarify that, but there will surely be more info and details about exactly how Alexa will be used and any potential limitations in the coming days. We’ll also be interested to see if Ford will ship vehicles with Alexa pre-installed, or simply leave it open as an option for buyers to download on their own.