The feature will also be available in Mini models.
As of mid-2018, new models from BMW and Mini will offer drivers a familiar personal assistant from Amazon. We’re speaking of course about Alexa, the voice-controlled service from the sales giant that has entered households around the world. The BMW-Amazon relationship actually began approximately a year ago with the BMW Connected skill that was available for the service. This new arrangement, however, fully integrates Alexa into BMW and Mini vehicles, which means driver and passengers will have access to literally tens of thousands of skills currently available to Alexa users.
“By making this step and integrating Alexa into our models from 2018, BMW and MINI will form a more intrinsic part of our customers’ digital lifestyles,” said Dieter May, senior vice president of digital services and business models at the BMW Group. “Voice control first featured in BMW Group cars many years ago, and we are now enhancing its functionality by adding a digital ecosystem, which will open up all sorts of new possibilities that customers can access quickly, easily, and safely from their car.”
Voice control certainly isn’t anything new, so what makes Alexa different? For starters, it doesn’t require a smart phone or any other interfaced device to use; all BMW and Mini models have built-in SIM cards to access networks. Features used at home can be accessed in the car through voice commands, with results spoken or displayed on the infotainment screen. In addition, previous BMW Connected skill features such as checking vehicle status or controlling other remote vehicle functions from home are still available. Yes, that also means you can control functions at home from your car, provided you have your house hooked up to Alexa.
BMW says Alexa will be available for all models in the U.S., U.K., and Germany, starting midway through 2018. There’s no word on the costs for the feature.
Gallery: BMW Alexa Integration
Digital lifestyle at the BMW Group: Seamless in-car integration of Amazon Alexa.
The inclusion of Alexa in BMW and MINI offers access to a whole new array of possibilities from inside the car.
- Seamless integration due to built-in SIM card in all vehicles
- Alexa shows relevant content for certain skills in the Display Screen
- Integration of Alexa into all BMW and MINI models from launch
- No smartphone needed to benefit from Alexa in the car
BMW Connected skill for Alexa has been available since September 2016. This has allowed BMW Connected users in the USA, Germany and the UK to ask Alexa to check vehicle information such as the state of charge or fuel level, or control their car via Remote Services from the comfort of their home. Alexa also makes it possible to consult appointments or scheduled routes and departure times with the help of the BMW Connected mobility agenda. The availability of Alexa in the car now makes it possible to use functions enjoyed at home while out on the road as well.
“By making this step of integrating Alexa into our models from mid-2018, BMW and MINI will form a more intrinsic part of our customers’ digital lifestyles,” remarked Dieter May, Senior Vice President Digital Services and Business Models at the BMW Group. “Voice control first featured in BMW Group cars many years ago, and we are now enhancing its functionality by adding a digital ecosystem, which will open up all sorts of new possibilities that customers can access quickly, easily and safely from their car.”
Today, 8.5 million BMW Group models worldwide are already connected. The vast number of services and infotainment features that can be controlled by voice commands in BMW models have paved the way for the forthcoming connectivity options and new digital services. A smartphone is not required to benefit from Alexa in the car, as all BMW models and selected MINI vehicles come equipped with a built-in SIM card. The resultant provision of online accessibility anywhere, anytime allows the seamless integration of Alexa.
For example, customers can find out which movies are currently showing at the local cinema, listen to their favourite playlist or find out the weather at their destination by voice command while on the move. And if the driver realises midway through a journey that they have forgotten something, they can ask Alexa to place an online order. Alexa can also show relevant content for certain skills (visual feedback) in the BMW Display Screen or MINI Centre Instrument.
“We are excited to work with BMW to bring the Alexa experience to their drivers,” said Ned Curic, Vice President, Alexa Automotive. “Using your voice to enjoy content and interact with Alexa makes a great driving experience even better. We can’t wait for BMW customers to try this out.”
Intelligent connectivity between the vehicle and the user’s digital touchpoints is therefore moving into a new dimension at both BMW and MINI. Since the launch of the MINI Countryman – and the new MINI Connected alongside it – the connectivity capabilities of the British premium brand have been constantly enhanced.
From mid-2018 Amazon Alexa will be available in all BMW and MINI vehicles in USA, UK and Germany.