Three years and change since the launch of Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa has quickly spread beyond the Echo product line into a myriad of other smart-home appliances. Behind the scenes, the online retailer has aggressively orchestrated Alexa’s rise by dramatically lowering the barrier for any company to add it to their products.
Last November, the tech giant also announced a suite of Alexa-enabled office tools. The effect is to make Alexa a ubiquitous presence in our lives.
At the Consumer Electronics Show yesterday, Amazon announced that Toyota will be the latest and largest automaker to integrate Alexa into its cars. The Japanese brand will add the assistant to a few Toyota and Lexus models with special infotainment software this year and expand it more models in 2019.
Alexa will help drivers and passengers get directions, read the news, and select entertainment options, as well as add items to their shopping cart. “It’s still really day one for us in terms of what we can do with Alexa in the vehicle,” said John Scumniotales, head of products for Alexa’s automotive efforts, onstage at a CES event.
Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, Hyundai, Daimler, BMW, and Ford also have existing partnerships with Amazon to bring Alexa into their customers’ commuting experience. But Amazon’s deal with Toyota, one of the world’s largest automakers, marks new heights for Alexa’s world domination.