Now you can add Nissan to the growing list of auto manufacturers with Alexa skills. The company announced its NissanConnect Services skill this week which lets Nissan owners start their car, lock and unlock the doors, flash the lights and honk the horn through any Alexa-enabled device. The skill will launch later this month and will only be available on select Nissan vehicles equipped with its telematics system, NissanConnect Services, which requires a monthly subscription after a limited free-trial post purchase. However LEAF owners will access to additional features according to the company’s press release:
Additionally, model year 2011 – 2017 LEAF owners will be able to check battery status, manage remote charging and cool down or warm up the vehicle’s interior using the new skill through the NissanConnect EV and Services Skill.
Alexa and the Automobile
Automakers are embracing Amazon’s Alexa in two different ways. Like Nissan, brands like Hyundai and Mercedes have chosen the quicker route to get on Alexa by creating an Alexa skill that allows drivers to control certain functions of their automobile remotely. While telling Alexa to unlock your car is easier than searching for your car keys, these skills do not provide a true voice-first experience. But that is changing. Ford, BMW and the European-based SEAT have all announced that within the next year, their models will be fully integrated with Alexa. This means consumers will have full access to Alexa while they are in their vehicle through their car’s dashboard, not just on a smartphone or at home near their Alexa-enabled device.
By fully integrating Alexa into their vehicles, Ford, BMW and SEAT are essentially turning their future models in a drivable Amazon Echo, giving the driver an immersive voice experience, and hopefully, decreasing the number of texting and driving incidents. Google is also looking to get its Assistant into vehicles and it makes sense. According to the AAA Foundation, the average American driver spends seven 40-hour work weeks in their vehicle. That kind of voice time is invaluable to Amazon and Google – meaning the real competition is not between the car manufacturers when it comes to voice assistant integration, but between the voice assistants themselves.