Perhaps you are familiar with Google Assistant on Android/Google Smartphones? If not, as an Apple user, you should know Siri. Microsoft users would know Cortana. All these virtual assistants are designed to execute different tasks, as controlled by the phone owner's voice. Alexa Auto is quite similar to these assistants. It’s a cut above, however.
Alexa is a virtual assistant AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology developed and designed by Amazon. Alexa is designed with features like voice interaction, music playback, setting alarms, weather updates, traffic, sports, and other real-time information, streaming and playing podcasts and making to-do lists. Alexa can also work as a home automation system.
So Alexa Auto is simply Alexa, made to work in an automobile with the help of a smartphone as the display screen and remote. Now let’s proceed to answer a few frequently asked questions about the Amazon Alexa Auto.
What’s the Difference between Amazon Alexa Auto and Echo Auto?
Amazon Echo Auto is the device designed by Amazon to help add Alexa Auto to your vehicle. Here’s the thing; many new cars come with trailblazing built-in voice assistant and smartphone integration. These sorts of cars won't require the Echo Auto device. However, many used old models don't have these features. That's the problem Amazon Echo Auto solves. In short, if you own a car without an integrated assistant feature, you'll need Echo Auto to use Alexa.
Echo Auto connects with the Alexa app on iPhone or Android smartphone as an extension of your smartphone to your car. To add Alexa to your vehicle, you can purchase the Echo Auto Device on Amazon for as low as $50.
That's incredible, don't you agree?
You can now have your old machine driving smarter. Yes, your old machine. Amazon Echo Auto works on most cars, as long as it has a power source (via cigarette lighter). Other alternatives for integrating the Echo Auto are: connecting to the aux port on your radio/sound system and connecting via Bluetooth.
The Alexa Echo Auto comes with eight microphones that help to listen carefully to voice commands, filtering out road-noise, music, conversations and other sounds.
What Can Amazon Alexa Auto Do?
Alexa can find location-based destinations like gas stations, make calls on your phone, check the news, and create a list of things you want to do, manage calendar appointments.
Remember what I said about Alexa Auto being a cut above Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Assistant? If you use an Alexa Integrated smart home in your house, you get to control your smart home from your car, anywhere you are. Set your security alarm system, control your garage door, and turn off your lights. Remember those times a neighbour called to inform you that you forgot to turn the lights off and there was nothing you could do about it? Gone are the days, haha. The possibilities of Alexa Auto are endless, really.
Another major thing that would surprise you is the fact that apart from the basic features available to Alexa, she also features over 50,000 skills that can be used inside the car. Alexa can tell you a story if you are feeling bored driving a long distance, all you need to do is to ask her to. You can browse all skills available on the Amazon Alexa Auto app.
How Do I Use Alexa Auto Mode On App?
The Auto mode is a new feature available to the Alexa app that turns your smartphone into a driver-friendly display when used with the Echo Auto and at the same time offers voice control. This app mode allows your smartphone to serve as a touchscreen display for directions, music playback and making calls to cars without integrated display screens.
The feature allows the driver to be more focused and unlimited in terms of conformability in the car. The mode has four screens: Navigation, Communicate, Play and Home.
- The Navigation screen offers shortcuts to favourite locations, places visited over time and link to your default navigation app for directions.
- The communicate screen offers shortcuts to place a call, Drop-In, or pass information through other Alexa devices you are synced with, either at home or in the office.
- The Play screen provides access to media playback and playlists to keep the groove in the car.
- Lastly, the Home screen offers shortcuts to frequently used actions.
From a co-pilot to a personal assistant, cars are becoming crazier by the day – crazy smart, crazy slick and crazy expensive, unfortunately. Some good news: you see that expense part, that’s about to change.
You don't have to let the inability to afford that expensive premium techy ride weigh you down anymore. Amazon, like most other manufacturers in the auto aftermarket industry, is working tirelessly to make an average car do almost anything a premium-priced vehicle will do. Soon enough, high techy vehicles will be affordable for the average Fred Nerk.
Finally, its good news to know that technology is gradually making things very easy. But would it not be boring if you’re to travel alone in a completely autonomous vehicle and Alexa Auto as an assistant?
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By Damilare Olasinde