Voice command car technology has been around a while, but its level of sophistication has grown since its earliest incarnations. Older systems offered a very limited range of commands and often required users to speak unnaturally.
The situation has improved in recent years. Thanks to technology offered by Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, today’s voice command car technology is more user-friendly than ever before. Here’s a look at the current capabilities of the two systems — and what to expect from them down the road.
If you have a connected Alexa device, you can use it to execute certain voice commands in vehicles made by Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan, according to Forbes. To do so, you’ll have to download the relevant automaker’s app, but they aren’t all created equal.
With Fiat Chrysler Association’s Uconnect app, Amazon notes that you can tell Alexa to:
- Start your car remotely
- Lock or unlock the doors of your vehicle
- Find the nearest gas station
- Let you know how much gas is in your car
- Provide you with information regarding your car’s tire pressure
With the FordPass app, Alexa can recognize many of the same commands, according to Amazon, as well as provide the driver with information on vehicle mileage and range — and even stop the engine per the driver’s verbal request. Amazon also states that the BMW Connected app can recognize even more commands. It can:
- Activate your vehicle’s climate control
- Check if your car’s sunroof is closed
- Check if your car’s trunk is locked
- Check the status of your car’s battery
If your vehicle’s manufacturer doesn’t have an Alexa-compatible app, don’t worry. You can use Alexa in any car with an aftermarket product called Garmin Speak, according to Business Insider.
Google Assistant is Google’s version of a voice-activated personal assistant, and it’s integrated into Android Auto smartphone projection technology. You can access its voice command functions if your car and smartphone are equipped with Android Auto. Widely adopted in the automotive industry, Android Auto is available in vehicles produced by an array of automakers, including Acura, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia and Mercedes-Benz, reports US News.
According to Google, you can use Google Assistant’s voice command technology to instruct your vehicle to:
- Navigate home
- Find nearby gas stations
- Consult your daily calendar
- Read incoming text messages
- Issue reminders regarding upcoming calendar events
- Play a specific genre of music
- Access specific playlists
- Access specific radio stations and podcasts
- Provide you with opening hours of businesses and restaurants
- Provide you with information on topics such as music and sports
Beyond Car Technology
One of the most exciting things about voice command car technology is that it allows you to reach far beyond your car, in terms of the functions that you’re able to govern. These systems allow you to manage your smart home while you’re on the road, for instance.
With Alexa, you can control your home’s thermostat, turn the lights in your home on or off, and turn on your home’s alarm. Similar functionality is offered with Google Assistant, which allows you to manage your home’s connected devices while you’re behind the wheel of your car.
In the years to come, Google Assistant and Alexa may very well take a more central role in helping you control your car’s features. Manufacturers such as Ford, BMW, Toyota, and Volkswagen have all stated that they plan to use Alexa as a key component in their infotainment platforms, reports CNET. Volvo recently announced that it plans to use Google Assistant as its main voice interface, according to Fortune.
Aided by innovations from Alexa and Google Assistant, voice command car technology now allows you to easily access your car’s features. With this technology, you can also seamlessly control many of your home’s connected devices while on the road, simply by issuing a spoken command.
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Photo courtesy of Pixabay.