General Motors will start rolling out access to Amazon Alexa connected services to its existing brand lineups starting in the first half of 2020, the company announced Wednesday, as it pushes to expand in-car safety and convenience features.
Much like Amazon's home-based Echo devices, the Alexa Auto platform will allow drivers to find directions, access local and streaming media, place calls, check the news, control smart home devices, or add items to their shopping lists using just voice commands.
The upgrade will require compatible hardware and an existing 4G LTE connected services plan. The plus side is that some vehicles going back as far as the 2018 model year already have the necessary hardware and will require only a software update to take advantage of the Alexa-enabled features.
"GM’s updateable app framework and vehicle connectivity lets us provide customers with new technologies that enhance the ownership experience, even to customers with vehicles that are already on the road," said Santiago Chamorro, GM's VP for Global Connected Services.
GM is going wide when it comes to in-car technology solutions. Earlier in September, the company announced that its next-generation infotainment systems will feature Google Assistant integration. GM uses an older Android-based framework for its infotainment systems.
It's clear that GM is approaching infotainment from an inclusive position, rather than an exclusive one. When Google Assistant integration was announced, GM said its research showed that customers "...increasingly expect seamless integration between the tech in their hands and the tech in their vehicles."
The addition of Alexa to the suite takes that one step further, adding home devices to the in-vehicle and handheld devices already being intertwined.