Ford is exploring linking smart devices like Amazon Echo and Wink to its vehicles to allow consumers to control lights, thermostats, security systems and other features of their homes from their car, and to stop, start, lock, unlock and check their vehicle’s fuel range from the comforts of their couch.
Ford is working to link the home automation devices with its vehicles through industry-leading Ford SYNC®. This comes as half of consumers say they will buy at least one smart home product in the next year, according to Icontrol Networks.
“Consumers increasingly want to stay connected to their homes while on the move,” said Don Butler, Ford executive director, Connected Vehicle and Services. “Linking smart devices like Amazon Echo and Wink to vehicles via SYNC would fulfill that desire, and allow consumers to connect with their vehicles even when they aren’t behind the wheel.”
With more than 15 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on roads around the world today and 43 million expected by 2020, Ford’s industry-leading communications and entertainment technology is offering customers even more connectivity. Amazon Echo and Wink connectivity innovations are part of Ford Smart Mobility, the plan to take Ford to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.
SYNC Connect and Amazon Echo
Ford is looking to use new SYNC Connect technology to link vehicles with the Amazon cloud-based voice service Alexa, which would allow customers to access their vehicle from inside their home. Using Amazon Echo, a hands-free speaker and voice command device that interfaces with Alexa, Ford owners could request assistance with various functions of their car including:
- Start/stop the vehicle
- State range and charge status of their electric vehicle
- Check fuel level/miles-to-empty
- State vehicle mileage summary
- Provide vehicle location with street name and driving time/mileage home
While at home, a Ford owner would experience an interaction such as this:
Owner: “Alexa, ask my Ford for my scheduled car start time.”
Alexa: “Here is the list of your current go times. You have a start time set for Monday at 7 a.m., with a cabin temperature set to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Tuesday at 5:45 a.m., with a cabin temperature set to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Owner: “Alexa, ask my Ford for my car’s driving range.”
Alexa: “You have an available range of 56 miles.”
Alexa also provides a link to a variety of Internet-enabled smart devices, such as lights, home security systems, automatic garage doors and more.
From inside the vehicle, a driver would access Alexa through the steering wheel-mounted voice recognition button, allowing the driver to make requests of connected smart devices or functions of Alexa, including weather reports, music, shopping lists and more.
On the move, a driver could ask and receive answers to the following:
“Alexa, is my garage door closed?”
“Alexa, turn my porch lights on.”
“Alexa, when is my next appointment?”
SYNC AppLink and Wink
Ford also is working with Wink, the smart home platform that brings together smart home devices from many different companies. Compatibility with SYNC AppLink enables Wink users to easily control and automate their smart home device on the dashboard of their car or through voice control.
For example, a driver nearing home could have the option to either press a button or say a command that opens the garage door, turns on the lights, and unlocks the front door.
“Connecting homes and cars is all about making life easier and convenient for our customers,” said Butler. “As smart homes and smart cars continue to evolve, SYNC technology makes it easy to implement features that will make life better and more convenient for our customers.”