Here's what's next for Lamborghini's Amazon Alexa integration
Lamborghini believes Alexa could be used for everything from opening a Huracan's trunk to changing the next-generation Aventador's hybrid powertrain's behavior.
Steven EwingFormer managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
announced a new partnership with
at CES 2020 this week, which brings
integration inside the
. Drivers can use Alexa's voice commands to do the usual list of tasks like make calls and connect to smart home devices. But what makes this specific use of Alexa so interesting is the ability to use the tech to control many of the car's features, without ever having to take your hands off the wheel.
"In the future it will be possible to have a much deeper integration into the driving modes of the car," Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini's chief technical officer, told Roadshow at CES on Wednesday. "It will be possible to ask the car to do something really specific. This allows the driver to be concentrated, looking forward, two hands on the steering wheel and ask the car what you want."
To use Alexa in the
, you can activate it through the traditional "wake word" method -- "Alexa, call Tim Stevens" -- or by touching an icon on the Huracan's infotainment screen. You can turn off the wake word, too, if you prefer to manually tap the screen every time you want to use the voice commands.
For now, Lamborghini's Alexa integration is limited to the Huracan Evo, but Reggiani says the next-generation
is another prime target for this tech. "The new Aventador must be born with the best Alexa integration possible," he said.
Reggiani reconfirmed that the next Aventador will use hybrid power, not unlike the company's Sian hypercar from the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, and Alexa can be used to control the electrified drivetrain. "My wish is to be able to say, 'OK, give me e-boost.' I can shape the use of the car based on my voice. This is a dream."
Interestingly, Reggiani isn't as concerned with bringing Alexa tech to the
SUV. Then again, since the Urus is largely based on the
platform -- and uses a reskinned version of the German company's MMI Touch Response infotainment tech -- the current Alexa integration would need to be modified for this application.
"I want to have the most safe driving experience in a super sports car," Reggiani said. He then referred to the experience of driving a supercar on a track, and how having voice commands would help the driver stay focused. "You cannot take off attention from the steering in order to decrease the temperature," he said.
Along these lines, Reggiani said Lamborghini and Amazon paid close attention to the nuances of supercar use while developing Alexa for the Huracan. "To be able to recognize voice inside a cabin of a Huracan with a V10 engine is a big job," he said.
Reggiani also notes that Alexa works just as well in the Huracan Spyder with the top down. "If it can work on a Huracan, it can work everywhere." (Lamborghini, I'm more than happy to test this on a fast drive in a brightly colored Huracan. You guys have my number.)
The 2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo Spyder is a supercar for sunny days
What's most interesting about the Lamborghini integration is that it can continuously be updated as more features become available. "We see there is additional potential of where we can use Alexa to manage the car," Reggiani said. "I want put my jacket in the car and I recognize there is a button I need to look at, and I want to have this button through Alexa. 'Alexa, open the trunk.'"
Nearly every vehicle system could be controlled in this way. Imagine being able to tell a Huracan to activate its front-end lift before you get to a steep driveway, or raise and lower the Spyder's convertible top just by using your voice.
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that as these new features and commands become available, customers will be able to download them through over-the-air updates.
"Imagine how many of these possibilities you can put in place," Reggiani said. "This is exactly what we need to offer to our customers."