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    Categories: Life/LivingNews & LaunchesTrends Watch

CES 2017: Ford, Amazon to Provide Access to Shop, Search and Control Smart Home Features on the Road

Millions of consumers who befriended Amazon Alexa over the last year, including many who just received an Echo or Echo Dot as a holiday gift, will soon be able to experience Alexa like never before from a Ford vehicle. A new collaboration between Ford Motor Company and Amazon is making this capability possible.

The Alexa integration – the most comprehensive ever in a vehicle – allows Ford owners to play and resume audiobooks, order items on Amazon, search for and transfer local destinations to the in-car navigation system, and more. From home, Ford vehicle owners will be able to remote start, lock or unlock doors, and get vehicle information using voice commands.

“Ford and Amazon are aligned around a vision that your voice should be the primary way to interface with your favorite devices and services,” said Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services. “Customers will be able to start their vehicles from home, and manage smart home features while on the road – making life easier.”

Ford will roll out its Alexa integration in two phases. The first, available later this month, connects you to your car from the comfort of home through Alexa devices such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap. The second, expected this summer, allows you to tap into a broad set of Alexa skills using your voice while driving – helping you keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

Alexa on the go

Beginning this summer, Ford drivers with SYNC 3 will be able to ask Alexa to read weather reports, play music, check news, add items to shopping lists and more – all from their car. For instance, you could ask Alexa to add milk or batteries to your shopping list without ever picking up a pen.

This industry-first in-car capability through Ford SYNC 3 AppLink simply requires drivers tap the voice-recognition button on the steering wheel, then say “Alexa,” followed by a question or command. Ford is currently beta-testing this experience with employees.

Inside the vehicle, drivers can ask Alexa to locate the desired destination. Alexa will use the vehicle location to find nearby businesses. For example, customers could say, “Alexa, find the nearest Italian restaurant.” Once the driver chooses the desired destination, Alexa can transfer the address to the SYNC 3 navigation system.

Customers can also continue experiencing their favorite books from the road. Using Whispersync for Voice, Alexa will switch to an Audible audiobook recording to resume reading where the driver left off.

Customers can also access many Alexa smart home devices to control lighting, security systems, thermostats and more from the vehicle.

Alexa at home

Ford Focus Electric, Fusion Energi, and C-MAX Energi owners will be first to access home-to-car capability using MyFord Mobile technology.

Through Alexa, Ford plug-in electric vehicle owners can easily control their vehicle from home using Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or Amazon Tap. Speaking to Alexa through one of these devices, they can start or stop the engine

  • Lock or unlock doors
  • Check range and charge status
  • Learn fuel level
  • Obtain a vehicle mileage summary

Ford is working on adding Alexa home-to-car integration for vehicles with SYNC Connect in the future.

Sidharth Shekhar: