Ford Putting Amazon’s Alexa In Cars

We already have connected cars and infotainment systems that can call our friends, change the radio, and offer directions to destinations. But that’s yesterday’s tech, at least for Ford. The carmaker is apparently taking a scene straight from the classic Knight Rider series, to include its own KITT — via Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant — in vehicles starting this summer. 

Ford announced the impending addition during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, becoming the latest company — and first carmaker — to include Alexa in its products.

The system, which is made possible through Ford SYNC 3 AppLink, enables users to access their car from inside their home and call up other features while driving.

From inside their homes, the vehicle owner can start or stop their car’s engine, lock and unlock doors, and view fuel levels and other stats.

Inside the vehicle, users tap the voice recognition button on the steering wheel, then say “Alexa,” followed by a question or command. This will allow drivers to access internet-enabled functions they have set up including opening garage doors, turn on lights at home, as well as request destinations and directions, play music, listen to weather, check news, and, of course, shop on Amazon.

For now, Ford says the feature is being beta tested with employees, but plan to begin Alexa integration for customers in two phases.

First, available later this month, it will connect cars to the virtual assistant through Alexa devices that people already own, such as the Echo speaker, Echo dot, and Amazon Tap.

The second phase, expected to take place this summer, allows drivers 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.

“We believe voice is the future, and this is particularly true in cars,” Steve Rabuchin, vice president, Amazon Alexa, said in a statement. “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. We can’t wait for Ford customers to try this out.”

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.