5 voice commands to use in your car this winter
Because pressing buttons is for chumps
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It feels as though voice commands in cars are reaching a turning point. For the past 10 years we've had to endure car manufacturers giving us their best attempts at speech recognition, which always did an impressive job of completely misunderstanding you and annoying you with constant prompts to say VERY SPECIFIC THINGS. No, car, I don't want to read out the ZIP code of my house in Swahili. Just take me home. You bastard.
Thankfully car manufacturers are starting to realize that consumer software companies are far better placed to give us voice commands that actually work – and unsurprisingly Amazon's Alexa is top of the tree when it comes to chatting to your car like an actual human being.
With that in mind, here are 5 of our favorite Alexa commands that we'll be using to help us not lose our minds behind the wheel this winter.
Alexa, start my car
You're going to have to head out at some point, so your car may as well be pre-warmed…
This is game-changing. If you're like us you like to let your engine warm up a bit before driving, especially on frosty winter mornings. And with Alexa you can start your car without leaving the house. If your Ford or Chevrolet has a remote-start function, you can simply ask Alexa to start it for you from the comfort of your own home. You'll be asked for a PIN, so don't go worrying that your five-year-old's about to empty your gas tank from the lounge…
Alexa, warm my car
Once your car or truck's up and running you can get it pre-heated using the power of your voice. Again, this is a great command to use from home – perhaps while you're prepping your morning coffee in the kitchen. Once you've experienced the smugness that comes from slipping into a toasty, pre-heated cabin you'll never look back…
Alexa, what is my range?
"Alexa, pay for gas". Try it - it works!
We hate waking up in the morning knowing that we've a long drive ahead of us but being unable to remember how much gas we've got left. Alexa can come to the rescue (again), thanks to her uncanny ability to tell you your car's fuel range – again, without leaving the house. Handy when you're planning your day and need to know if you need to swing by a gas station. If you visit a Mobil or Exxon gas station you can also say "Alexa, pay for gas", and you'll be able to remotely pay for what you're about to receive. Find out how to do it!
Alexa, warm my seat. Please.
Fine, this is absolutely the height of laziness. Or is it efficiency? Either way, being able to ask Alexa to warm your car seat is guaranteed to make you feel like a Roman emperor, except without a bunch of people feeding you grapes while you drive. Perhaps there's a skill for that too?
Alexa, how's the traffic?
Alexa, what's the traffic like?
At some point you're going to have to stop messing about prepping your car for the journey ahead and actually get on with the act of driving – but just before you peel out of the driveway, it's worth checking the traffic on your commute. Alexa can do this for you – and also suggest ways to avoid the bulk of it. Sadly she doesn't have the magic powers needed to snow the office in so you can stay at home…
Find out how to use Alexa in your car – and see what skills you can use to make driving fun again.