If you aren’t one of the many, you’ve at least heard of them by now: the growing number of people demanding connectivity in their vehicles. The masses have spoken – and Amazon is ready to answer.
“Two and a half years ago, we had nothing,” Alexa Auto Vice President Ned Curic told CNBC following a tour of Amazon’s headquarters last week in Seattle. “We’re much further than I thought we would be. I’m quite pleased with the speed we were able to build and deploy.”
Amazon has been busy engineering a connected ecosystem to seam together everyday tools at home, and now they’re ready to take that on-the-go. And it sounds like the world is ready for it, too.
Many automakers have already taken steps to provide in-vehicle voice recognition systems, but they’ve all fallen far short of user expectations so far, which has been interpreted as frustrating broken promises, and negatively affected quality and ratings.
Then, earlier this year, Amazon released Echo Auto: an aftermarket in-vehicle device with Alexa. Anyone with the amazon app can use this device to pair with their smart devices at home. It doesn’t even require an additional subscription.
Ford Motor was the first automaker to allow Alexa into its vehicles through a mobile app-based implementation – and through the app, drivers can already control smart devices in their home like thermostats and lights, in addition to car features such as radio, phone, and navigation, without ever touching a cell phone. But Curic says, “[We] can do so much more. You can bring tons of vehicle value through that experience.” By actually embedding Alexa into a vehicle’s system, the voice assistant can communicate with home devices, offer Alexa services and assist in controlling vehicle settings.
So far, Amazon has officially announced partnerships with 10 automakers. But they’ve also made a big investment in Rivian, and all-electric-vehicle startup, which begs the question…
What fancy advancements in technology might they still be keeping under wraps?