| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Oct 3 Some Ford owners will
soon be able to turn up the heat at home from their cars using
Amazon's Alexa voice service or start their vehicles
from their desks using the same system.
Ford Motor Co said that three models, the Focus Electric,
Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi, by year's end will be able to
communicate with smart home devices using Alexa by pressing a
voice recognition button on the steering wheel.
Consumers can send instructions to their Ford vehicles from
home by using Amazon's Echo smart home device and Alexa, an
"intelligent assistant," similar to Apple's Siri, that enables
users to access Internet services and interact with devices
using voice commands. Vehicle owners also will be able to send
simple commands via Alexa to smart home appliances and systems.
The Ford-Amazon partnership was announced at the annual
Consumer Electronics Show in January. Production plans were
shared last week with Reuters during a demonstration of the
service at Ford's Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto,
California. A Ford spokesperson said the service has entered a
final phase of testing with Amazon before its planned release at
the end of the year.
Among the functions that Alexa can provide are the ability
to preset temperature in the home, check the security system or
turn on the outside lights from the car. Using an Echo device in
the home or office, Alexa users can start the vehicle, lock or
unlock their doors and check the range between charges, after
providing a security code.
Alexa also can be used to update shopping lists, get weather
reports, check appointments and cue up music in the car.
Some of the in-vehicle services through Alexa will be rolled
out to other Ford models starting early next year, according to
Ford spokesman Alan Hall.
Carmakers are increasingly trying to improve the customer
experience inside cars with features to rival the convenience of
smartphones. The growing focus on network-connected appliances
and other home devices - part of the so-called "Internet of
Things" phenomenon - has inspired collaborations between
automakers and technical service providers such as the
(Reporting by Paul Lienert and Alexandria Sage in San
Francisco; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)