Amazon's smart assistance system Alexa has been available in different BMW, Ford, Seat, Škoda, Toyota and VW models for several years, with additional skills coming from General Motors, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and other manufacturers. With it, and depending on the car, passengers can control functions such as central locking with their voices. In most cases, Alexa is used to run the car’s entertainment system.
Unlike these model-specific solutions, the newly presented Echo Auto is suitable for all vehicle types. Connected to the car's speakers via Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE or a 3.5 mm jack, online connectivity requires a smartphone. Passengers can then play songs via voice command, have the news read to them, take notes, create appointments in their calendar, and request overviews or traffic information. They also have access to the entire range of skills, meaning they can also request directions or a weather report and even control their smart home accessories.
Echo Auto is expected to be launched on the US market before the end of 2018 priced at 50 dollars, while select customers will receive an introductory offer for 25 dollars. Amazon has not yet announced whether and when the system will become available in Germany.