Ford, Amazon working to connect cars to smart homes
Future drivers may be able to talk to their cars from their kitchens and vice versa thanks to a partnership between Ford and Amazon.
Antuan GoodwinReviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
ExpertiseReviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainmentCredentials
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During a press conference Tuesday morning here at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Ford CEO Mark Fields shared the stage with Amazon to demonstrate their joint vision to connect the former's Sync Connect and AppLink services with the latter's Amazon Echo home automation hub and its Alexa voice concierge service.
The command "Alexa, ask my Ford for the charge status of my C-Max" spoken to the cylindrical tower was met with a robotic response communicating the current battery level of the plug-in hybrid and the estimated range. "Alexa, ask my Ford to start" would remotely start the car allowing the cabin to be warmed or cooled.
Once in the car, the driver would be able to access Alexa home automation functions using the Sync voice command system. "Alexa, turn on my home lights," or "Alexa, open the garage door," could be spoken to the system to activate connected lighting or garage door openers.
Other home-to-vehicle functions being explored include locking or unlocking the vehicle remotely ("Alexa, ask my Ford if the doors are locked,") stating the vehicle location, scheduling start time and cabin temperature for plug-in models and more. On the vehicle-to-home side, Ford drivers will gain access to any of the Internet-enabled smart devices (lights, home security, thermostats, garage door openers, and more) that are compatible with the Echo and Alexa, as well as services, weather reports, music and more. With the tap of a steering wheel button, a driver could be asking "Alexa, when's my next appointment?"
There was no car on stage during the presentation, but the audience got the gist. You can see the system in action in the video below.
In addition to Amazon Echo, Ford also announced that it is working with the Wink smart home platform to provide similar levels of voice commanded functionality for users of that system.
Ford hasn't stated a timeline for when we could expect these functionalities to reach the dashboard (or the countertop), only that it and Amazon are "exploring" linking their services.