Mercedes-Benz cars connect with Google Home, Amazon Alexa
- Owners of 2016 and 2017 Mercedes-Benz models will be able to link their cars to Google Home’s Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, according to a press release. The service, which follows the car maker’s integration with Google Assistant on Google Home, is available in the U.S. and will launch in Europe later this year.
- The voice assistants can understand various vehicle functions. For instance, Mercedes-Benz pointed out that Google device users can say, "Ok, Google, tell Mercedes me to start my car," and their Mercedes-Benz vehicles will be started remotely. Alexa users can say, "Alexa, ask Mercedes me to send an address to the car," for navigation purposes.
- To access the service, Mercedes-Benz owners must have a Mercedes me account and a subscription to the Mercedes-Benz smartphone platform mbrace, and connect their Google Home or Amazon Alexa apps with Mercedes me.
Mercedes-Benz, Google and Amazon are trying to make the journey from home to car easier by networking AI-driven voice assistants with luxury vehicles. Drivers can communicate with their autos from inside their homes to tell them to unlock the car or to load directions, but The Drive points out they can’t use Assistant or Alexa once they’re in the car, a use that could have led to concerns about distracted driving. The car maker-voice assistant relationships are forming at the same moment almost everything in people’s lives from home to work to transportation is getting smarter. Companies like Google and Amazon want to build their businesses and brands by providing the technologies to do that smartening.
People will go along for the increasingly intelligent ride if these technologies make their days better, but they will abandon the technologies if they’re too expensive or more trouble than they’re worth. Android Authority noted a mbrace subscription costs $280 yearly, probably not a big hit for Mercedes-Benz customers. Mashable lamented setting up Assistant and Alexa for Mercedes-Benz cars can be cumbersome, which could impede adoption. Despite possible stumbles, the connectivity seems appealing enough to car makers that they’re multiplying partnerships with the companies behind voice assistants. Nissan and Ford are other car brands that have associated with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, respectively.
Mercedes-Benz’s partnership with Google Assistant and Alexa and similar affiliations avoid hurdles Google and Apple have encountered with their car infotainment offerings, Android Auto and Apple Play. Although those offerings have been introduced into more than 150 car models, not all car makers have rolled out the welcome mat to Google and Apple when it comes to infotainment systems. Automakers seek to control data and not cede that control to third-party tech companies, which they aren’t doing if they connect with voice assistants while maintaining authority over infotainment.