Voice commands on cars are certainly not new, but in recent years technology has been running fast. Much faster than that of vehicle manufacturers, who have different times from Silicon Valley. Digital assistants conquered smartphones first and then homes. They understand (more or less) natural language and perform simple commands. They operate smart speakers but also televisions, electrical outlets, light bulbs, surveillance cameras. In this challenge Amazon with her Alexa scored many points in his favor, leaving the competitor behind Google and other digital big names who believed in it less (like Apple or Samsung). Now Amazon brings its Echo family of products to the world of four-wheelers too: Echo Auto a small device, with an affordable cost (60 euros), designed to activate Alexa even on board your car.

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What Echo Auto does

What is this Echo Auto and what can it do? an object smaller than a pack of cigarettes. Installation takes a few minutes and does not require skills as an electrician or computer scientist. The support bracket is mounted on the air nozzle, the power supply is connected to the cigarette lighter socket (or to the USB socket). Then it is configured through the Alexa app on the phone, which is also used for connectivity. For audio, the vehicle system is used instead. a solution designed for cars that already have an entertainment system with Bluetooth but also for all older ones: in the box there is a cable for the Aux port of the car radio. Bring Alexa to older cars but it also integrates with those already equipped with Android Auto or Apple Carplay explains Gianmaria Visconti country manager Alexa for Italy.

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Functions

What can be done with Echo Auto? On-board entertainment can be controlled with your voice, from music to audiobooks to podcasts. You can make hands-free calls (connectivity guaranteed by your smartphone), but you can also interact remotely with smart home objects if you forget to turn off the lights or adjust the thermostat. There are 8 microphones associated with technology Far-Field: noise inside the passenger compartment is not a problem.

The strategy

In the long run, Amazon’s strategy of having Alexa on board as many vehicles as possible thanks to agreements with manufacturers (today already present in Italy on Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Mini and Lamborghini models): This – adds Visconti – allows integration and deeper personalization. For example, you can imagine a command such as “Alexa, lower the windows” that with an after-market device obviously not possible.

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June 17, 2020 (change June 17, 2020 | 18:39)

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