Last week BMW announced that starting next year customers will get the chance to use Amazon’s personal assistant, Alexa, onboard their cars, just like they do at home. And while the announcement sounded just like what a lot of us wanted to hear, it didn’t exactly show how the system will work. Luckily for us, the Germans also published a short video showcasing a couple of examples of how we’ll be able to use Alexa inside our BMWs.
As you can see, you’ll be able to use iDrive to set a lap timer, order stuff online or play your favorite playlist while behind the wheel, without having to go through various submenus. Of course, the list of possibilities is a lot longer and it includes a lot more options that you may find useful at some point or another. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that Alexa has already been offered in conjunction with BMW Connected for quite some time now, in some key markets.
BMW Connected skill for Alexa has been available since September 2016. This has allowed BMW Connected users in the US, Germany and the UK to ask Alexa to check vehicle information such as the state of charge or fuel level, or control their car via Remote Services from the comfort of their home. Alexa also made it possible to consult appointments or scheduled routes and departure times with the help of the BMW Connected mobility agenda. The availability of Alexa in the car now makes it possible to use functions enjoyed at home while out on the road as well.
MINI users will also get to enjoy the functionality offered by Amazon’s assistant. Furthermore, you won’t be conditioned by a smartphone as all BMW and some MINI cars now come with a built-in SIM card for data usage and other purposes. Other things you can use Alexa for include, for example, finding out which movies are currently showing at the local cinema, finding out the weather at their destination by voice command while on the move.