Toyota is the latest automaker to adopt Amazon’s Alexa in its vehicles, announcing a partnership at CES that enables the assistant to work with its newest infotainment platforms.
On Tuesday, Toyota said vehicles with the Entune 3.0 infotainment system, and Lexus models with the Enform 2.0 system, would start to get Alexa capabilities this year. The automaker did not announce in its release which specific models would get it, but Entune 3.0 debuted last year on the 2018 Toyota Camry. The automaker said more models would be compatible with Alexa in 2019.
“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,” Zack Hicks, senior vice president and chief information officer of Toyota Motor North America and chief executive officer and president of Toyota Connected, said Tuesday in a news release.
With the Toyota and Lexus systems, Alexa’s skills for smart homes — as well as directions and media controls — would be enabled through the infotainment system. That’s a departure from some automakers using voice assistants that perform limited vehicle functions to control lights, locks, and engine starting.
At CES this year, Panasonic announced Alexa and Google Assistant capabilities for future infotainment systems it makes for automakers, while Kia said a handful of its 2018 models would get some Google Assistant capabilities. And Google itself said its assistant is coming to Android Auto, because it hasn’t really been there before.