LAS VEGAS — Ford will begin rolling out Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant this month, starting by allowing hybrid and electric vehicle owners to interact with and control their cars from inside their homes using Amazon Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices.
Then, starting in the summer, the automaker will expand the integration by adding Alexa to vehicles running its Sync 3 in-car technology — allowing drivers to press a button to ask for driving directions, sports scores and anything else Alexa would normally do or answer.
Ford touts it as the most comprehensive integration of Alexa in vehicles to date. The news follows the announcement of the partnership between Amazon and Ford a year ago.
It’s part of a flood of Alexa news at the big CES technology show this week, as Amazon’s virtual assistant is integrated with everything from DVRs to refrigerators, giving the Seattle-based tech giant a head start over Microsoft, Google and other rivals. Shawn DuBravac, the chief economist for the Consumer Technology Association, predicted as the show started that as many as 700 Alexa applications could launch at the show this year.
The automaker says the integration will start by allowing Ford Focus Electric, Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi owners to control their vehicles using voice commands from their homes, starting remotely, locking doors, and checking range and charge status, among other things.
Starting in the summer, vehicles with Ford’s SYNC 3 technology will be able to press a button to ask Alexa questions, add items to a shopping list, navigate, play music, and other features.
Here’s a Ford video showing the capabilities of the system.