BMW owners will soon have an entirely new way to control certain functions on their Bimmer.
The company said Wednesday that it plans to let people connect their vehicle to Amazon’s Echo by the end of this year so that people can use voice commands to do things like lock the doors or check the car’s fuel level.
The Echo is basically a voice-enabled bluetooth speaker that acts as a virtual assistant when prompted with the wake word “Alexa.”
Developers can create “skills,” which are basically apps, for the device to give it new functions. It can also connect with other smart home products so that you can control those devices via voice commands.
To give BMW owners the ability to control their car with Echo, the company is creating a new Amazon Echo skill. But this particular feature is actually part of the company’s broader effort to bring more connectivity to its cars.
In March, the automaker launched a new cloud-based technology system called BMW Connected in the US. This new platform offers all kinds of new services to BMW owners via the new BMW Connected app.
For example, the BMW Connected app will check your calendar to know your next appointment and alert you via the app to let you know when you should leave your current location to arrive on time. It will even learn your driving schedule and alert you if it thinks your drive home from work will be delayed.
The system is also capable of learning your favourite driving destinations so that next time you get in the car, you can select navigation for that destination with one tap.
The BMW Connected app will work with any BMW car with ConnectedDrive services, which is a feature the company began offering on all vehicles made beginning in January, and is slated to roll out to select European markets this month.