Toyota recently announced it would be adopting Amazon’s Alexa—the cloud-based voice assistant—in some of their vehicles in 2018. This partnership will enable the assistant to work with its latest infotainment platforms.
“This makes Toyota and Lexus vehicles among the first to bring the convenience of Alexa into the car and onto the road,” said Zack Hicks, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Toyota Motor North America, and CEO of Toyota Connected.
Alexa will be made available in Toyota models that have the Entune 3.0 infotainment system, and Lexus models that have Enform 2.0 system. Currently, Toyota has not announced the names of models that will have this technology, but they said more models would be made compatible with Alexa in 2019.
Hicks also said, “Voice services are rapidly becoming more popular, and through our integration with Amazon Alexa, Toyota, and Lexus, customers will soon be able to easily speak to Alexa in their cars while on-the-go.”
This would mean Alexa will be accessible while in the car. The Toyota and Lexus systems and the direction and media controls would be synced with Alexa. Beyond the usual commands such as play music or give a weather report, users will also be able to interact with smart home devices, turn lights on in their homes, open the garage door, or adjust their smart thermostats. Users will also be able to ask about nearby businesses while driving. Through this service, users will also be able to give commands to the car through Alexa devices at home to perform functions such as starting the engine or locking the car door.
For Toyota, this is just a start with Amazon Alexa, and other auto makers like Ford, Hyundai and Volkswagen have plans for Amazon’s voice control technology. Third party service providers such as Anker, Panasonic Garmin, and Logitech have their own strategy to help users begin using Alexa while driving.