Genesis Motors, the luxury division of Hyundai, says it is the first automaker to enable car owners to use remote voice commands via Amazon Alexa in its G80 and G90 models. And while this may be factually correct, it’s also perhaps somewhat pedantic considering a number of forthcoming Alexa integrations from other brands.
Genesis Connected Services, which the brand says combines safety, car care, remote functionality and infotainment, will use Amazon’s Alexa voice service on Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Tap devices.
"With this innovative Alexa implementation, customers can now start their car and get the heat going all just by asking Alexa from the comfort of their own home," said Steve Rabuchin, vice president of Amazon Alexa, in a release.
Additional functionality includes remote stop, lock, unlock, lights and horn.
"The Amazon Alexa skill for Genesis demonstrates our progressive commitment to technology that is intuitive and customer-focused. It aligns with our belief that time and convenience are the ultimate luxuries," added Erwin Raphael, general manager of Genesis in the U.S. market, in a statement.
But, as noted, Genesis isn’t the only game in town with Alexa.
In fact, at CES in January, Ford said it was exploring linking smart devices like Amazon Echo and Wink, the smart home platform that brings together devices from multiple companies, to its vehicles.
Ford is working to link these devices via Ford Sync, its in-vehicle communications and entertainment system. According to Ford, there are more than 15 million Sync-equipped vehicles on the road today with 43 million expected by 2020.
“Consumers increasingly want to stay connected to their homes while on the move,” said Don Butler, Ford’s executive director of connected vehicle and services, in the release. “Linking smart devices like Amazon Echo and Wink to vehicles via Sync would fulfill that desire.”
Like Genesis, linking Ford to Alexa would allow customers to access cars from inside their homes to perform functions like: start, stop, lock, unlock, state range and charge status, check fuel level, state mileage summary and provide vehicle location with driving time and mileage home. And, inside the vehicle, Ford says a steering-wheel-mounted voice recognition button would allow drivers to access Alexa and request weather reports, music and shopping lists, as well as to ask whether garage doors are closed and request Alexa turn on porch lights or unlock the front door.
In other words, per BMW, the app scans for mobility-related information, such as addresses and arrival times, in calendar entries and notifies the driver of the ideal departure time based on real-time traffic. BMW Connected will also transfer places and points of interest from other apps, storing them as destinations with the desired arrival time and importing them to the in-car navigation system.
But that’s not all: Later this year, BMW said users will also be able to access BMW Connected via an Alexa skill for Echo, enabling them to get vehicle status like remaining range and execute remote commands like door locks via voice interaction.
BMW Connected can be used in vehicles with ConnectedDrive Services activated, a feature BMW said became standard on all new BMWs in January 2016. There are approximately 400,000 BMWs capable of using this service on the road in the U.K., the brand said.
And then, of course, there’s the Tesla owner who hacked into his car to enable a voice command via Alexa to pull his car in and out of the garage, which is worth noting as an example of future potential even if this was not officially sanctioned by the brand.