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Amazon's Alexa is coming to BMW cars in 2018

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Alexa, start your engines. The digital helper is headed to BMW and Mini cars in mid-2018, Amazon announced at a surprise event in Seattle today. 

Amazon earlier unveiled the Echo 2017 smart speaker, an update to the popular Amazon Echo, which launched two years ago.

With Alexa in the car, Amazon continues the spread of its virtual assistant, moving beyond smart speakers and the TV into vehicles. Alexa did have an earlier tie-in with Ford as well as a BMW Connected skill for Alexa-connected devices, but today's announcement brings Alexa right into the wires of your BMW or Mini.

From the car, you can do things like ask Alexa to turn on your outdoor lights, request directions, play music, call a business, order food, and check the news. 

The car's heads up display will project information from Alexa, such as the music that's playing, while voice commands let you ask Alexa just about anything (that's within its skill set).

Amazon says that drivers will have access to thousands of Alexa skills through third-party developer integration.

Alexa will arrive in all 2018 BMW and Mini cars starting in the middle of the year, and will be available in the US, UK and Germany.

This is a major move for Amazon and Alexa, and we'll likely see even more car partnerships down the road. Are you listening, Google Assistant and Siri?

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.