The BMW Group is systematically expanding the intelligent connectivity capabilities of its vehicles by seamlessly integrating the highly versatile Alexa, Amazon’s voice-controlled personal assistant, into all BMW and MINI models from mid-2018.
The innovative inclusion of a cloud-based voice service will enable BMW Group customers to access a variety of services, entertainment features and shopping facilities while on the move by simple voice interaction. Tens of thousands of Alexa skills that can be accessed from Echo devices will now be available for in-car use, too.
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 mid- way 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.