Jaguar Land Rover announced a software update this week that offers deep Alexa integration for newer vehicle models (via Bloomberg).
The update is available to over 200,000 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles outfitted with the company’s Pivi Pro 3.0 or later infotainment system via an over-the-air update. This comes after Amazon’s efforts early last year to open up some of Alexa’s AI to allow car manufacturers to better integrate Alexa into their vehicles.
Alexa in Jaguars and Land Rovers will be usable without the need of a smartphone and will be able to assist drivers hands-free with playing music, navigating to various points of interest, and everything else Alexa is capable of like announcing news and weather. You can also turn on the climate and lock / unlock the vehicle using new remote skills with Alexa from your home.
Many manufacturers still require customers to take their vehicles to the dealership for software updates, but Jaguar Land Rover has joined the few that can deliver them over the air. And although Jaguar Land Rover says Alexa is coming as a free OTA software update, there are some caveats. It requires a paid connectivity subscription, a compatible configuration package, and some cars may need to visit a dealership anyway as stated in the fine print of the company’s press release:
12-month subscription required. Available in connected markets only. Online Pack for S specification packs and above. Vehicle must have Pivi Pro infotainment system and valid Online Pack subscription, and software has to be updated to OS3.0 or later to enable Alexa. Existing vehicles may require multiple updates to get to OS3.0 and for some owners this may require a Retailer visit. Vehicle software has to be updated and ‘activated’ to enable Alexa. User must have a valid Amazon account.
Activating Alexa will require scanning an on-screen QR code that connects the Jaguar Land Rover app connectivity system InControl with your Amazon account.
Head of Alexa Automotive International Christian Mentz highlights the importance of working closely with Jaguar Land Rover on this and how feature updates will be ongoing:
Customers around the world interact with Alexa billions of times each week, making life easier, more productive, and more fun. We’re excited to deliver that same delightful, convenient experience to Jaguar and Land Rover customers – and because Alexa is always getting smarter, new features and capabilities will be added over time and delivered to their vehicles automatically.
With Google Assistant on Android Automotive available for many new Volvos and Polestar vehicles — as well as the GMC Hummer EV, Lucid Air, and more to come — competition is already hot for Amazon in the automotive space.
Previously, Alexa has only been available in some cars as a secondary voice option alongside digital assistants, like in some BMWs or as an in-dash app that connects to a phone alongside Sync in some Fords. Manufacturer partnerships like with Jaguar Land Rover present an opportunity for Amazon to get Alexa to ride shotgun in a big way.