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Amazon Alexa in the car: new car mode, skills, functions

New auto mode for Alexa

What can Amazon’s voice control do in the car, which devices are available for retrofitting, what are the best skills for on the go? An overview of the Alexa voice assistant in the car.

Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa has become an integral part of the SmartHome, and with the Echo Auto, which was presented in the summer, voice control has also found its way into the car. The cloud-based, intelligent voice system can read the map and find the best pizzeria or the cheapest petrol station nearby. Upon request, Alexa can set the perfect temperature and favorite music at home and willingly answer all questions. Amazon is now promising a special car mode for smartphones that will improve the Alexa experience in the car even further. Amazon has not yet announced an exact start date, but promises an introduction in the coming weeks.

What can Alexa auto mode do?

Similar to the Android Auto app, the Alexa auto mode transforms the smartphone into a driver-friendly display with large graphics and buttons. A total of four screens are available in auto mode: Home, the start screen that shows the most frequently used Alexa functions. Navigation, where favorite places can be accessed and the current route can be followed. Communication through which calls are made or instructions are passed on to Alexa devices at home. And music, where the current playback is displayed via a streaming service. Using a fixed menu ribbon, users can quickly switch between the functions.

How do I activate Alexa auto mode?

To be able to use the car mode, all you need is a smartphone with the Alexa app. The car mode can then be activated in the Alexa app. This function is currently not available, but Amazon promises to roll it out in the next few weeks.

How does Alexa work in the car?

Echo Auto mounts on the dashboard and receives voice commands with eight microphones.

To use Alexa in the car, an appropriate device (e.g. Echo Auto, or accessories with Alexa) must first be connected to the car. Usually this works with Bluetooth or alternatively with the 3.5 millimeter jack plug. Then voice commands can be given or questions can be asked with the activation command “Alexa”. For example: “Alexa, play the radio station XY” or “Alexa, what’s the weather tonight”.

What can Alexa do in the car?

In the car, Alexa offers the same functions as at home, including:

• Play music (e.g. via Spotify, Amazon Music)
• Call up information about the current traffic situation
• Navigate
• Do Amazon purchases
• Remind appointments or other things
• Get information about the weather or the latest news
• Answering questions

What are the best Alexa skills for the car?

Alexa’s capabilities can be expanded with so-called skills. In principle, they are like an additional Alexa app that has to be activated once via a specific voice command or the Alexa app. The skills are free. Practical aids for driving are also included:

Clever refueling: With the skill you can compare the fuel prices in the area or in your city and always refuel at the cheapest price.

PayByPhone: With PayByPhone you can easily buy a parking ticket digitally. With the Alexa skill, this even works voice-controlled.

Traffic jam indicator: Provides information on the current traffic situation on certain routes.

Registration in Germany: What does MSP stand for? Or MTK? This skill knows.

… and many more: There are now many thousands of Alexa skills and the right add-on for almost every need. So it’s worth checking out Amazon.

Can Alexa read WhatsApp messages aloud?

Even if Alexa can do a lot, she can currently neither read nor send WhatsApp messages. In this function, Android Auto and Apple CarpLay are still one step ahead. If you want to have WhatsApp messages read out while driving, you can alternatively use your Smart Assistant, i.e. Google Assistant or Siri.

How can you retrofit Alexa in the car?

There are several ways to get the digital voice assistant into the car:

Echo Auto: The easiest way to access Alexa in the car is via the Echo device, which was specially developed for the car. It is set up via the Alexa app and supplied with power via the 12-volt plug. Then the device is connected to the vehicle speakers via the 3.5 mm audio plug or Bluetooth (alternatively, the audio output is via the smartphone) and off you go.

This is how Alexa gets into the car

Alternatively, the Echo Dot can also be connected in the car, but it does not offer all functions.

Echo Dot: If you have WiFi in your car, you can also connect an Echo Dot speaker. If the car does not have built-in WiFi, a mobile adapter can be used, or you can use your own smartphone as a mobile hotspot. To set up, users only have to click through the installation process in the Alexa app and couple the Echo Dot to the multimedia system via Bluetooth – that’s it. Depending on the model, the small box can be placed in the cup holder or in the center console. Disadvantage: There is no hands-free or navigation function.

This is how Alexa gets into the car

Small but nice: The Anker Roav Viva is plugged into the cigarette lighter and brings Alexa into the car

Alexa plug: Many providers now have plugs for the cigarette lighter that connect to the car via Bluetooth and then offer the voice control functions of Alexa. Navigation and hands-free calling usually also work here. A well-known model is the Roav Viva from Anker.

What are the benefits of Alexa in the car?

The biggest advantage is obvious: if you don’t have to press buttons or swipe across monitors, you can keep your hands on the wheel and look at the road. Many studies have shown that using multimedia units or making calls, writing text messages and checking messages distracts the driver from traffic and is a frequent cause of accidents. The hands-free operation (hands-free = free hands) is a huge gain for security. Incidentally, the whole thing is of course also fun, and those who make appointments during the trip, create shopping lists or order the urgently needed water bottle for the child can also save a lot of time.

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