Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant will soon ride shotgun with Toyota drivers.
Toyota said Tuesday that it plans to embed the retail giant’s voice-activated assistant in some of its Toyota and Lexus cars this year without specifying which models. The automaker said more models would be added in 2019.
“Voice services are rapidly becoming more popular and through our integration with Amazon (AMZN) Alexa, Toyota and Lexus customers will soon be able to easily speak to Alexa in their cars while on-the-go,” Toyota Motor North America chief information officer Zack Hicks said in a statement.
The company said that Alexa would be available in some Toyota and Lexus cars that come with the Entune and Enform infotainment software. These infotainment control systems already come with some voice-control features, according to the company’s websites, but Toyota appears to be pitching Alexa as an upgrade.
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With Alexa, on the other hand, Toyota said its customers would be able to ask the digital assistant to perform more complex tasks like providing driving directions, reading news, and controlling Internet-connected home gadgets while they drive.
The announcement marks another step forward by Amazon in getting more third-party devices to use Alexa and beyond Amazon’s web-connected speakers like the Echo and Echo Dot.
At last year’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, for example, Amazon and Ford (F) announced a similar pairing of the Alexa voice-assistant with Ford’s infotainment software.