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Automotive online shopping offered by BMW and Amazon

03 October 2017 - 09:17 by David Aiken

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People who want to place an order via safe shopping online while they are behind the wheel of their car will be able to do so from 2018 onwards, thanks to a partnership between German automaker, BMW and American retailer, Amazon.

Vehicles falling under both the BMW and Mini brands will get integration with Amazon’s voice controlled personal assistant service, Alexa, meaning that a wide range of functions will be opened up, with safe shopping online being just one of them.

From checking appointments to placing an order for a fast food delivery, Alexa’s presence in cars will mean that drivers can get a lot more done while keeping both hands on the wheel and their eyes focused on the road ahead.

Amazon spokesperson, Ned Curic, said that voice integration was something that many car manufacturers were seeking to develop at the moment, so it made sense for a tried and tested service like Alexa to be adopted by BMW, according to Internet Retailing.

There is already a link between Alexa and BMW, coming in the form of an app released last year to provide certain functions within compatible vehicles. But this deeper connection, which is promised to arrive in mid-2018, is even more exciting and potentially influential.

At the moment it seems like Alexa will not be a standard feature on BMW and Mini models sold next year, but rather will come as an optional extra, presumably with an associated additional price to pay. This might put off some customers who already have Alexa access on their smartphone and do not see the point in splashing out yet again to get native support in their car.

There may also be those who are concerned with the safety implications, as having online shopping on tap while driving may prove a distraction for some. But with autonomous car tech soon to arrive in earnest, this will not be a problem for long.