Ford expands in-vehicle Alexa capability as it begins over-the-air updates


DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. said Thursday that it is bringing in-vehicle Amazon Alexa voice capability to roughly 700,000 Ford vehicles in the United States and Canada this year through over-the-air updates as part of a new six-year deal with the tech giant.

The automaker, which announced a separate six-year deal with Google earlier this year, billed the partnership as the industry’s “broadest rollout of the embedded Alexa hands-free experience to date.” The update will allow customers to use in-vehicle voice commands to place a phone call or find parking, as well control things such as lighting or temperature in their home from within their car.

Ford said the Alexa capabilities will expand to millions of additional vehicles over the coming years. In addition, Ford and Amazon will develop Alexa skills for commercial vehicles and use artificial intelligence to help business owners better organize fleets.

“We believe in the power of teaming up with other innovators,” Alex Purdy, Ford’s director, business operations, enterprise connectivity, said in a statement. “Bringing Ford’s vehicle know-how together with Amazon’s technology expertise will deliver in-vehicle capabilities that help our retail customers travel more enjoyably and with ease, while helping our commercial customers operate more profitably.”

The partnership comes as Ford has begun to offer over-the-air updates to certain vehicles such as the Mustang Mach-E and F-150. The company has already beamed software enhancements to 100,000 owners.

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