Alexa is coming to America’s largest carmaker. On Wednesday, General Motors announced its plan to integrate Amazon’s popular voice assistant into millions of its vehicles starting in 2020. Any 2018 Cadillac, GMC, and Chevrolet vehicle or newer will be eligible for the upgrade, the automaker said.
GM is the latest company to partner with Jeff Bezos’ tech giant. Only a few — Toyota, BMW, Ford, and, most recently, Audi — have announced direct Alexa integration with their infotainment systems, and not all of them struck deals for every model. It’s a risky bet for car companies, which have struggled to develop their own in-car voice assistants that can live up to the standards set by Amazon.
It’s a risky bet for car companies
Car owners can get the Alexa update via their vehicle’s 4G LTE connectivity and updatable app interface. GM says it will utilize Amazon’s software development kit to access standard Alexa skills as well as create custom skills in the future. Once activated, drivers can use Alexa to get navigation information, play music or podcasts, or make phone calls. They can also link up with another Echo device in their home and tell Alexa to turn on their lights or adjust the temperature.
GM says its own research suggests customers want to use the same voice assistant in their car as they use in their home. Indeed, a 2018 survey sponsored by Amazon said basically the same thing: a majority of car owners prefer the same brand of voice service in their home and vehicle.
For drivers of older vehicles, Amazon sells a credit card-sized device that plugs into the car’s charging port called Echo Auto for $50. (You can read our review of the Echo Auto here.)