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Ford's adding Amazon's Alexa to 700,000 vehicles this year

Ford said a deeper partnership with Amazon may even bring unique Alexa skills for future cars from the automaker.

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Amazon's popular Alexa voice assistant is about to hitch a ride in a lot more Ford vehicles. On Thursday, the automaker announced upcoming over-the-air software updates will bring Alexa to 700,000 vehicles this year. Millions of other vehicles will gain access in the coming years after Ford inked a deeper "strategic engagement" with Amazon for the next six years.

The strategy includes the possibility of releasing Alexa skills (Alexa's equivalent of apps) specific to Ford vehicles. Maybe Alexa will be able to flick on Ford's BlueCruise hands-free driving system. That'd be pretty cool. For now, though, the goal is to simply put the voice assistant into Ford vehicles via "Power Ups," as Ford calls its over-the-air software updates. They'll first land in the new Bronco, Edge, F-150, Mustang Mach-E and Super Duty this fall. Do note, only vehicles equipped with Sync 4 will be eligible for the OTA update.

Ford also plans to continuously roll out Power Ups to compatible vehicles, and in the next few weeks, will update systems for the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 with enhanced Apple CarPlay compatibility while using navigation, trip logs for EV drivers and a new digital owner's manual.

Owners will receive three years of complimentary access to Alexa's skills in the car, and after that, they'll need to subscribe to the right connected-car package and continue to use the FordPass smartphone app to keep the voice assistant's smarts rolling.