Audi just became the latest carmaker to integrate Amazon’s digital brain Alexa into its vehicles.
At an event in San Francisco, the German auto giant showed off the new $74,800 e-tron SUV, Audi’s first vehicle with Alexa built into the console display. The integration allows drivers to do things like check news, weather, sports scores, order groceries, add things to to-do lists, stream music and audiobooks via Amazon Music and Audible and access smart home controls.
Audi said it will bring Alexa to more cars later this year. The integration doesn’t require a smartphone app, just a link between the vehicle and an Amazon account, and runs through the car’s LTE-connected console display.
The deal with Audi is the latest example of Amazon’s auto ambitions. In early 2017, Amazon and Ford showed off an Alexa-powered in-car system at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. A year later at CES, Amazon and Toyota announced a partnership. BMW joined the list of Alexa auto partners over the summer.
Last month, Amazon debuted a new set of tools to build the digital assistant into in-car entertainment systems. The new Alexa Auto Software Development Kit includes code to program in capabilities like calling, media streaming, navigation and search, all via voice command.