January brought us a new year. Ford, Amazon, and January brought us cars we can talk to without being flagged as eccentric. The automaker and Amazon joined forces to link a personal electronic assistant to hybrid and electric models.
Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Amazon Tap owners now can use the “smart” speakers while sitting at home on a cold morning to tell their car to turn on and warm up. They also can lock or unlock it, or interact with the vehicle’s information systems: a fuel/energy check, for instance.
The second stage of the Ford-Amazon team effort, coming this summer, will put Amazon Echo’s electronic assistant, Alexa, in the passenger seats of Ford’s Sync 3-enabled Focus Electric, C-Max Energi, and Fusion Energi models, with enabling of additional Ford models planned.
Once Alexa is riding shotgun, drivers will be able to keep their hands on the steering wheel and command Alexa to give weather or traffic reports, play music or news, put an item on a shopping list, or get directions and have the destination plugged into the car’s navigation system.
Echo is designed to link to smart devices in the home. That means you can be sitting through a red light at 17th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in the Mile-High City while checking the contents of your smart fridge, turning your living room lights on or off, or unlocking the front door for a son who – once again – lost his house key.
But Are We Getting Too Smart?
Linking a smart-home system such as Echo to your vehicle can have unexpected consequences, too. Chatting with Alexa can take your mind off the road, and that can be deadly.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 1 in 10 fatal crashes involve distracted driving. In 2015, Colorado had 15,574 distracted-driving crashes. The death toll: 68.
Much of the problem is with smartphones (especially texting), GPS devices, and entertainment systems. Although the Alexa integration is designed to help you operate these devices while driving, talking to Alexa may be a distraction in itself.
Let Us Help If You’ve Been Injured in a Crash
The Sawaya Law Firm’s commitment to highway safety is a matter of walking the walk. Our firm has teamed up with the Colorado Department of Transportation to help reduce traffic fatalities. Our firm also is keenly aware of the risks of distracted driving – and once again we opted for action over talk by producing an educational video.
Since 1977, The Sawaya Law Firm has been helping crash victims throughout Colorado. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation on how we can help you pursue the financial compensation you need after a serious auto accident.