Hyundai's Blue Link smartphone app has been added to Alexa's 'skills', allowing control of engine starting and EV charging.
Not that long ago, the prospect of being able to talk to machines was pure science fiction. But these days, even a kettle can be controlled by voice commands via smartphone app.
Cars were among the first every-day devices to come with voice activation for things like the phone and stereo. Then came app-based control systems that could start and unlock the car. Hyundai is combining the two principles to go another step further, adding its Blue Link app to the range of “skills” on Amazon Alexa.
For the uninitiated, Alexa is a hub for “smart home” apps that is controlled by voice commands. Tell it turn on the lights in the bathroom, or set the thermostat to 80 degrees, and it will do so.
Adding Blue Link to Alexa will allow Hyundai owners to access a whole range of functions before they leave the house, including remote engine start, climate control settings, door locking, lights, and horn. Owners of Ioniq Electric and Plug-In, and Sonata Plug-In models will be able to control charging, as well.
Every MY2017 Hyundai with Blue Link is compatible, along with all MY2016 Genesis, Azera, Tucson cars, and certain Sonata, Veloster, and Elantra GT models.
Blue Link can be controlled from many other devices, as well. Barry Latzlaff, executive director of digital business planning and connected operations at Hyundai North America, said: “Our customers increasingly want more ways to interact with their vehicles, especially when they are hustling to get out the door. Linking smart devices like the Amazon Echo and Apple Watch to vehicles via Blue Link continues to fill that desire. Allowing customers to send commands to their cars is just beginning.”
So we’re not quite in the Knight Rider universe yet, where you can have meaningful conversations with your car. This certainly brings us one step closer, but is it a good thing?