BMW will start rolling out support for Amazon Alexa to various drivers.
The fact that BMW is doing this does not come as a surprise given the fact that it has been talking for quite a while about its plans to bring Alexa and maybe other personal assistants such as Google Assistant or Cortana to its cars.
Ahead of the official launch in Germany, Austrian, U.K. and the U.S., TechCrunch’s author Frederic Lardinois took a trip to Munich to take a look at what using Alexa in a BMW is all about.
“As Dieter May, BMW’s senior VP for digital products told me earlier this year, the company has long held that in-car digital assistants have to be more than just an “Echo Dot in a cup holder,” meaning that they have to be deeply integrated into the experience and the rest of the technology in the car. And that’s exactly what BMW has done here — and it has done it really well,” TechCrunch’s author writes.
Visual responses will also be integrated
Lardinois continued and said that probably the most surprising thing was that we’re not just talking about the voice interface here but BMW is working directly with the Alexa team at Amazon to also integrate visual responses from the personal assistant.
It seems that using the tablet-like display you find above the center console of most new BMWs the service doesn’t just read out the answer but it also shows additional facts or graphs when warranted.
In other words, Alexa in a BMW will be a lot more like using an Echo Show than a Dot.
“In the demo I saw, in a 2015 BMW X5 that was specifically rigged to run Alexa ahead of the launch, the display would activate when you ask for weather information, for example, or for queries that returned information from a Wikipedia post,” Lardinois said.
It seems that the team from BMW styled these responses using the very same design language that also governs the company’s other in-car products.
For instance, if you see the weather forecast from Alexa, it will look just like the weather forecast from BMW’s own Connected Drive system.
BMW is also working with Microsoft, and it’s also important to mention that many of its cloud services run on Azure). The company argues that Alexa and Cortana have different strengths.