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Amazon Alexa will ride with Rivian's electric pickup and SUV

Not only will Alexa turn on your house lights from the car, it can control the vehicle's own systems to boot.

Using an app to warm up or cool down your EV's interior is so 2019.

This story is part of CES, where CNET covers the latest news on the most incredible tech coming soon.

Amazon Alexa integration in cars is nothing new, with automakers such as Toyota adding the ability for you to control Alexa-connected devices from your car. But a select number of OEMs are embedding Alexa deeper into cars' hardware, giving the voice assistant even more control over the driving experience. Rivian is the latest company to take Alexa just a little further.

Rivian announced on Monday that it will embed Amazon Alexa into its upcoming electric vehicles' hardware, bridging the gap between controlling internet-connected devices and the car itself. The two companies will debut this integration at CES 2020 with its R1T electric pickup truck.

There are two major ways Rivian's Alexa integration will work. First, it'll do all the usual stuff you expect, say, an Echo Dot to do: It can play music, make calls and send directions to connected devices like light bulbs, in addition to working with the myriad skills available on other Amazon-enabled devices.

But with this deeper connection to the car, Rivian has opened up a whole second area of functionality. Alexa will be able to change actual vehicle settings, whether it's adjusting the climate control or opening the trunk and windows. If you have an Echo Show or Fire TV, you can use those to access the pickup truck's bed camera, for a little extra peace of mind. Rivian also mentioned mysterious "car-to-home" and "home-to-car" skills that it claims are unique to its own cars, but as of this writing, the company has yet to divulge more details about those skills.

Amazon has ordered 100,000 of Rivian's delivery vans, which will also contain this new tech.


Now, you might be saying to yourself, "All this stuff is only good if I have an internet connection." You'd be right, but given the level of connection between Alexa and Rivian's vehicles, the automaker says internet access won't be a necessity, per se. Rivian promises certain Alexa features will be available when offline, but again, it did not specify which ones.

Rivian is not the first automaker to put Alexa this far into its car, but it's among the first, and it probably won't be the last, either. Lamborghini also recently announced deep Alexa integration for its vehicles, which will cover many of the same areas as Rivian.

That's not all, because Rivian isn't just working on passenger vehicles. The company is also working on an electric van, of which Amazon has ordered 100,000. These delivery vehicles will also contain the new Alexa integration when they hit the road, which is estimated to happen in 2021.

Now, whether you're in the car or taking a shower, there are more ways to stay plugged into your own personal internet of things. Expect Rivian's vehicles to launch with the Alexa integration tech in the latter stages of 2020.

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