Ford, Lincoln to Debut More Casual Alexa Voice Control

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“Alexa, the windshield’s foggy,” you say, and the defroster kicks in.

“Thanks, now play some chill music.”

Today, conversing with in-car virtual assistants means learning a set of stock phrases to control their features. But in some Ford and Lincoln vehicles, that exchange could soon work the other way around. Instead, the in-car version of Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant could learn commands from you.

In a press release, Ford explains, “Ford and Lincoln customers with Amazon Alexa Built-in can now teach Alexa to perform vehicle functions based on their preferred phrasing.” The system will use artificial intelligence to guess what drivers want and ask for clarification until it arrives at a set response to phrases the driver chooses.

For instance, you might say, “Alexa, I’m cold,” Ford explains. The first time you said that phrase, the system would respond, “I can increase the temperature by 5 degrees or turn off the AC. What should I do?” The second time, it would just perform the action you choose without asking.

It will even allow for some controls from outside the vehicle. Owners could use a home Alexa, Ford says, to lock and unlock doors, check tire pressure, and even start the engine to warm up the car with voice commands.

The system will first appear at this week’s New York International Auto Show and will be rolled out to vehicles equipped with built-in Alexa services later.

Ford hasn’t said when the update will make its way to Ford and Lincoln vehicles. The company currently offers three years of the “Alexa Built-In hands-free experience” on some 2022 models, including the Ford F-150, Bronco, Mustang Mach-E, Edge, and Expedition, and Lincoln Nautilus and Navigator.

 

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