A year ago, Ford teased a possible integration with the Amazon Echo smart home device, so car owners could turn on their home lights or browse their music libraries from the comfort of their Fusions or F-150s. Or they can switch it up and ask Alexa to start their car from inside their homes. Now the integration between Ford and Amazon is official and will be rolling out in the weeks to come, the companies announced at CES today.
Ford claims it will be the first automaker to offer real-world integration with Amazon’s popular smart home device. Other car companies have also working to get Alexa in their vehicles, but it looks like Ford may have won the sprint to get there first.
As soon as its available, Ford owners will be able to play and resume audiobooks, order items on Amazon, and search for and transfer local destinations to the in-car navigation system. From home, Ford vehicle owners will be able to remote start, lock or unlock doors, and get vehicle information using voice commands.
Ford will roll out its Alexa integration in two phases. The first, available later this month, connects you to your car from your home through Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap. The second, expected this summer, allows you to command Alexa while driving.
Ford isn't the first automaker to try to integrate the smart home and car — Mercedes-Benz joined Nest's developer platform three years ago, allowing drivers to control their home thermostat from the driver's seat.
Ford is using CES to unveil a few other nifty integrations, including for those who own a Samsung Gear S2 or new S3 smartwatch. Starting soon, those smartwatch owners will be able to integrate their device to a Ford Sync-equipped vehicle for convenient parking reminders and alerts to help you remain attentive in the car. So if you start to drift into oncoming traffic, your smartwatch will chime or vibrate to keep you alert.
Ford is also turning its Sync-equipped vehicles into WiFi hotspots powered by AT&T’s 4G LTE network. This integration will allow passengers to connect up to 10 devices to their vehicles. Which sounds awesome if you’re a passenger — woo hoo, Netflix! — but potentially deadly if you’re the driver.
The federal government recently released a request to smartphone makers to find some way to restrict access to certain apps to drivers, in order to cut down on distracted driving. Ford’s simple message to accompany its announcement about Wi-Fi hotspots? “Don’t drive while distracted.”