Ford and Amazon have teamed up to bring a cloud-based voice service to motorists.
The integration, announced at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will roll out in two phases. Starting later this month, Echo, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap owners can remote start, lock or unlock doors, and get vehicle information from the comfort of their home using voice commands.
Focus Electric, Fusion Energi, and C-Max Energi owners will be the first to access home-to-car capabilities; vehicles with Sync Connect are next on the list.
"Ford and Amazon are aligned around a vision that your voice should be the primary way to interface with your favorite devices and services," Don Butler, executive director of Ford Connected Vehicle and Services, said in a statement. "Customers will be able to start their vehicles from home, and manage smart home features while on the road—making life easier."
The second stage, expected this summer, allows Ford drivers with Sync 3 to tap into Alexa's skills while driving—play and resume audiobooks, order items on Amazon, or search for and transfer local destinations to the in-car navigation system.
Just tap the voice recognition button on the steering wheel, then say, "Alexa, read the weather report," or "Alexa, play Amy Winehouse." Drivers can also ask Alexa to locate a desired location: "Alexa, find the nearest Italian restaurant." The digital assistant will then transfer the address to the Sync 3 navigation system.
"We believe voice is the future, and this is particularly true in cars," Amazon Alexa Vice President Steve Rabuchin said. "The ability to use your voice to control your smart home, access entertainment, manage to-do lists and more makes for an extraordinary driving experience."
Ford and Toyota also announced the new SmartDeviceLink Consortium, with initial backing from automakers Mazda, PSA Group, Fuji Heavy Industries, and Suzuki. The nonprofit wants to give consumers more choices for connecting and controlling smartphone apps on the road. Amazon intends to join in an effort to expand Alexa's reach.