Audi is officially joining the growing list of automakers who are choosing to add Alexa voice control to their vehicles. Other companies include BMW and Toyota. The company will integrate Amazon’s voice assistant into select models in North America and Europe, starting in January 2019 and with the newly unveiled E-Tron electric SUV. Audi will load Alexa onto the selected vehicles’ infotainment systems, so there’s no need to dock your phones — simply link your car to your Amazon account and then activate the assistant through the onboard voice control system. You’ll then be able to ask Alexa to play music, read audiobooks, order groceries, tell you sports scores and to add items to your shopping lists while driving.
What’s great is that Audi is putting this into their brand new models. But it’s going to cost you about $75,000 if you want to buy one. That said, it’s one of the most anticipated luxury EVs slated to hit the market over the next couple of years. While it will be a direct competitor of Tesla’s Model X, it’s also believed that it will be a competitor to all the cars on the market. Meaning, it’s anticipated that more people are going to start buying electric vehicles.
Getting back to Alexa for a moment. Ned Curic, VP of Alexa Auto, says you’ll also be able to ask Alexa to locate points of interest, as well as to control smart devices from your car. Say, you want to adjust your room’s temperature before you arrive home — you can do that while you’re on your way.
“Our vision is to bring Alexa to customers wherever they are — at home, at work, and on the go. With Alexa built directly into the vehicle, customers can ask Alexa to play music, locate points of interest, control smart home devices, and access thousands of Alexa skills, and we’re excited to work with a brand like Audi to bring that experience to the all-new Audi e-tron and additional models in its vehicle lineup.”
But is that something that you want, or need? If I’m being honest, it would be nice to have control over those kinds of things from my car. Maybe it’s because I spend a lot of time in my car. Either driving from one appointment to another – or just driving for work, it would be nice to have more control over what’s going on in my home environment before I arrive there. Maybe it’s been exceptionally hot, and I’d like to turn the AC down a little bit before I get there. I can do that for my car. Or maybe it’s been really cold and I’ve been gone for a weekend – why not crank the heat before I get home?
I think that we will start to see more automakers partnering with technology companies in order to bring us a more convenient way to do things. We are still a long way off from self-driving cars. But in the meantime, we can certainly take advantage of the technology that’s available to us now. Right now it’s small things like controlling your thermostat, but what that could change over the next couple of years.