GM is joining the ranks of its fellow automakers by providing Amazon Alexa connectivity for its 2018 and newer vehicles, starting in 2020. Ford, Audi, Toyota, and Lexus have already begun integrating the digital assistant into their vehicles.
While the trend is definitely focusing on the future of the digital domain, one has to ask just how safe an installed device, such as Alexa actually is. Sure, it provides hands-free communication, enabling the driver to focus on the road, but the issue of personal security can’t be ignored. Especially when considering the storage and access of your personal data.
Questions aside, consumers are opening the pod bay doors to convenience and accessibility as we arrive at the new expectations for automobiles.
Recognizing that Alexa is a system many are already comfortable operating in their home, GM focused on its smooth integration into vehicles. Voice recognition is one of the perks for ease of operation, but today’s consumer also expects hands-free access to music and conversation while driving.
It’s just another tier in the world of constant availability. The advantages of accessibility aren’t lost on automakers. While investments in technology equate to as much as $82M industry-wide, it’s a necessary expenditure to remain current.
While the public and automakers alike are eager for the staying power of the autonomous vehicle (AV), there’s still more work to accomplish to achieve true roadworthiness. Coordinating with the tech companies has proven to be more of a challenge than originally anticipated, yet AVs are on the horizon.
GM, for instance, in partnership with the self-driving tech development company, Waymo, intended to have its driverless models available in 2019.
AVs are the wave of the future, but the final design requires further developments in safety before hitting the road en masse.
With all of the data access like preferred music, routes, destinations, restaurants, and anything else folks can load into their apps, some are becoming increasingly concerned about where the lines are drawn in the information-sharing industry. And now this problem is making its way into the auto industry.
The ACLU, for instance, has registered concerns regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Impact Assessment. At issue is the government’s right to track drivers’ locations and movements without their knowledge.
The proposed national license plate tracker allows undeterred access to a database containing personal information on citizens’ habits regardless of whether they’re suspected of a crime or not.
The future is here without a doubt. Some technology may still require fine-tuning before the official release, but there’s enough happening that gives us cause for concern and excitement. Continuing to maintain the checks and balances that preserve basic rights of privacy is a key factor in future development.