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Ford Announces Integration Of Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ Voice Service

In case you’ve been left out of the loop, this week is the Consumer Electronics Show – the time of year when Ford strategically forgets that it’s an automaker, and reveals its latest tech-centered news to the world.

But perhaps no story to come out of CES 2017 is quite as big as this: Ford has announced that it is integrating Amazon’s Alexa voice service with the SYNC 3 in-vehicle infotainment system.

The rollout will come in two stages. The first, due later this month, will allow Alexa users to access their Ford vehicles from the comfort of their homes with the Echo device. This will enable nifty features like the ability to remotely lock or unlock vehicle doors, check the fuel level (or charge status and range, in the case of plug-in-hybrid and battery-electric vehicles), and even remotely start or stop the engine, using simple voice commands.

The second stage will come along this summer, and will enable a range of Alexa voice commands in-car. The owners of Ford vehicles equipped with SYNC 3 will be able to issue voice commands to Alexa in-car to read weather reports, play music, check the news, add items to their shopping lists, and more. The system will be well-integrated so that, for instance, if a user were to ask Alexa for an address, Alexa could pass that address directly to the SYNC 3 navigation system.

This represents the first-ever industry implementation of Amazon’s Alexa technology.

“Ford and Amazon are aligned around a vision that your voice should be the primary way to interface with your favorite devices and services,” says Ford Executive Director of Connected Vehicle and Services Don Butler. “Customers will be able to start their vehicles from home, and manage smart home features while on the road – making life easier.”

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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