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Alexa, why has BMW added you to its cars?

BMW made a guest appearance at Amazon's Alexa press conference today to announce increased integration with Alexa in its cars.

BMW's Thom Brenner shows off Alexa integration
Next year, BMW drivers will be able to access Amazon's Alexa from their cars, offering much of the functionality they would get from their homes.
Ry Crist/CNET

Once you get used to having Alexa around in the home, you might miss her when commuting or running errands. That won't be the case if you have a BMW, however. Beginning next year, BMW will integrate deeper integration with Alexa in its cars.

During a press conference at Amazon headquarters, Thom Brenner, BMW's vice president of Connected Car Services showed off how drivers will be able to access Alexa in their cars. Brenner showed how a driver could ask Alexa for a music playlist, complete with a graphical response showing the song tracks on the car's LCD.

Last year, BMW integrated some Alexa skills in its cars, letting owners ask Alexa in their homes ask about their cars' fuel levels and status. This new announcement completes the circle, letting owners use Alexa from their cars.

Cloud-based assistants such as Alexa are gaining popularity, and have shown promise for in-car use. At this year's CES in January, BMW demonstrated how it could use Microsoft's Cortana as a personal assistant in the car. Likewise, Ford demonstrated its integration with Alexa, letting drivers ask for destinations or make other requests from Alexa while driving. These cloud-based assistants promise much better voice response than previous in-car voice command systems.

Brenner said this new integration will roll out in 2018. BMW has not yet responded to a request as to which models Alexa will first appear.