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Welcoming Amazon’s Alexa to the Toyota Family of Vehicles

Posted at Fri, Jan 26, 2018 9:00 AM

Most people are familiar with Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa, in a home setting. Since the advent of the virtual assistant trend, the Amazon Echo has been one of the most familiar among those devices, and now that same technology is poised for integration into Toyota’s newest automobiles. Advances in vehicle infotainment systems are nothing new, but introducing Alexa into the mix is a big move and it’s one that we here at Westbury Toyota couldn’t be more excited about. We want to give drivers access to frontline innovations in every aspect of their cars, and the introduction of Alexa into the Toyota family means we’re doing just that.

Interested in learning a little more about how Toyota is bringing Alexa into the fold – and significantly upgrading your time spent on the roads of Long Island? Then join the Westbury Toyota team for an in-depth look at this burgeoning partnership between the biggest names in the tech and automotive worlds, as well as how it could drastically alter your next morning commute.

The Specifics

Given how useful and popular the Echo has proven inside the home, it was only a matter of time before the technology was also implemented into your car’s dashboard. As Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch explains, how it’s going to be done is pretty simple: Alexa will be included in Toyota’s Entune 3.0 App Suite software updates, beginning in late 2018.

"Toyota said on Tuesday that it will be deploying Alexa beginning with its Entune 3.0 App Suite and Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0 vehicle system software updates for select 2018 model year vehicles later in 2018, giving U.S. customers access to Alexa while on the go."
– Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

At the moment, Alexa will only be available in certain vehicles this year. However, more vehicles will have Alexa voice assistant support in the 2019 model year. Alexa will also be making an appearance in select Lexus vehicles this year, deploying along with the Lexus 2.0 Enform App Suite.

What’s Offered?

Voice command features have become increasingly prevalent in cars in the past few years, and nobody can deny just how useful these features can be. However, these capabilities lose a lot of their luster once you start comparing them to what you can get from Alexa. With the integration of this tech into Toyota’s cars you’ll be getting full access to all of Alexa’s considerable skills, explains Zac Estrada of The Verge.

This means that, in addition to standard fare such as inquiring about the weather, asking for directions, or controlling media, you’ll also have access to the controls of any and all smart home devices that are also connected to your Alexa. This brings an entirely new and unprecedented level of convenience and efficiency to your drive time, allowing you to (safely) multitask on a level like never before.

“With the Toyota and Lexus systems, Alexa’s skills for smart homes — as well as directions and media controls — would be enabled through the infotainment system. That’s a departure from some automakers using voice assistants that perform limited vehicle functions to control lights, locks, and engine starting.”
– Zac Estrada, The Verge

What 2018 Toyota Models Will Feature Alexa?

So far, only the 2018 Camry is outfitted with Alexa. However, Toyota is aiming to have the technology available in several other models later this year, and 2019 will see even more Toyota vehicles come online with access to Alexa. With this in mind, whether you think you'll be in the market for a new vehicle that’s outfitted with the latest and greatest in the tech department in the near future, or you’ve been shopping around for an affordable and reliable Alexa-enabled mid-size car that can immediately roll into your daily life seamlessly, the newly formed tandem of Toyota and Alexa have you covered.

Embracing the Future

Not so long ago, the concept of being able to interact with networked smart devices and appliances through your car was an idea firmly reserved for the “someday” category. Amazing as it is, that future is now. By creating vehicles that come included with Alexa, Toyota is giving you the ability to do things like turn up the thermostat in your house on the drive home from work so that it’s the perfect temperature when you walk through the door. You’ll also have the ability to open your garage door through voice command, or create and edit shopping or chore lists while you drive. Though all of these tasks are admittedly simple, they’re tasks that you’re not normally able to do from within the confines of your car.

At Westbury Toyota, we take pride in showing our customers the different types of technological features offered in our vehicles. With the introduction of Amazon’s Alexa to our vehicles later this year and in 2019, we’re even more excited to show them off. We want drivers to enjoy their cars for more than just the transportation – we want drivers to experience the best technology has to offer. If that technology also offers up easier ways of doing tasks that you usually wouldn’t be able to do when you’re behind the wheel, well, what’s not to look forward to? If the concept of Alexa and Toyota teaming up piques your interest, make sure to come visit us at Westbury Toyota so we can tell you even more.

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