Alexa will be integrated into BMWs and selected Mini vehicles starting in mid-2018, the company said today. The integration uses far-field microphones embedded into the car, the company said. Alexa visual content will also be displayed on the head unit inside the vehicle. “It’s a complete, comprehensive set of internet capabilities that is available inside your vehicle,” a BMW executive said at an Amazon event today in Seattle.
With Alexa inside the vehicle, drivers can use voice commands to use basic Alexa commands like asking for news and weather, in addition to third-party apps like Starbucks and NPR.
Previously, the two companies had worked together on an Alexa Skill that allows car owners to talk to their apps or Echo to check things like remaining fuel. This also isn’t the first car that integrates Alexa into the car itself — at CES this year, Ford introduced a line of cars that allows users to sync their Alexa devices so they can remotely unlock or start their car with voice commands.
The introduction of Alexa into BMW offers Amazon a high-profile perch in the emerging world of tech giant software inside of traditional autos. It positions Alexa as a competitor to Apple’s CarPlay and Apple’s Android Auto.
Alexa will be available in all BMW vehicles for the 2018 model year, and mid-2017 Mini models in the US, Germany, and UK.