BMW, Mini to offer Amazon Alexa in all models beginning next year

Voice recognition has been available in cars for years now, but the technology has improved, and found its way into our pockets and our homes. With applications like Siri and gadgets like the Amazon Echo essentially acting as digital personal assistants, the ways we interact with technology through our voice have advanced significantly in recent years. BMW plans to take advantage of the evolved voice technology, and will offer Amazon Alexa in every BMW and Mini model beginning in the middle of 2018.

Drivers will be able to use the usual Alexa features (or “skills” in Amazon speak) to get the latest news and weather, provide entertainment, or remotely control their smart home gadgets. Alexa will also perform car-specific duties, such as navigation or locating nearby businesses. Users can also check on movie times, request specific playlists or even order products from Amazon through Alexa.

It’s the logical next step for BMW, which has allowed owners to check the status or control features of their car through Alexa’s BMW Connected skill since last year. Users won’t need to bring their smartphone along for the Alexa to work, as BMW and Mini models will be equipped with their own SIM cards. Alexa will be available in cars in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.

As our friends at Engadget point out, the timing is important, as Amazon risked being left behind by the likes of Apple and Google, which offer their technology in vehicles via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Amazon would do well to expand access beyond the three markets in-car Alexa will launch in, for exactly the same reason.

Check out the video above for how BMW envisions users interacting with Alexa. We really hope some lucky M4 owner does, in fact, actually order a pizza while drifting on the deck of an aircraft carrier. That’s a future we want to live in.