In-Car Tech

Blink Roadside skill for Amazon Alexa allows voice-activated roadside help

Drivers can enjoy Alexa by using simple voice commands, all while keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

Photo courtesy of BMW

The first voice-activated Amazon Alexa skill for roadside assistance is now available. The Blink Roadside skill allows Alexa users to get help by uttering common roadside request phrases like, "Alexa, I have a flat tire" or "Alexa, my car won't start". These phrases launch the skill.

Agero, a digital-first vehicle solutions company, created the skill leveraging their extensive network of service partners and digital customer experience. This is the same technology that is used by automobile clubs, manufacturers, and insurance carriers.

The technology services 100 percent of the zip codes in the U.S. This makes Blink Roadside the broadest offered roadside assistance service in the nation.

Chevrolet Amazon AlexaDrivers can use Amazon Alexa for thousands of skills.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The company charges a flat fee for service, which it says saves customers money on services that often can top $100. Payment options for these services are available for Amazon Pay so no additional log-in names or sign-ups are required.

The Blink Roadside skill isn't confined for used in the vehicle. It's availble on all Alexa-enabled devices. According to the company, when initiated, the Blink Roadside skill "will offer to connect customers with highly-trained Agero representatives and a comprehensive digital service experience, including status update notifications and links to live service truck tracking delivered to customers via text message."

Customers will need to grant the skill permission to use real-time location information of their Alexa device.

Some of the skill activation phrases include:

  • "Alexa, I have a flat tire"
  • "Alexa, I need someone to jumpstart my car"
  • "Alexa, my car ran out of gas"
  • "Alexa, I need roadside assistance for my car"
  • "Alexa, my car won't start"
  • "Alexa, my car is broken down"

"Our goal at Agero is to make it easy for motorists to get help when they have a breakdown," said Raj Behara, vice president of engineering and chief technology officer, Agero. "Working with Amazon to create this innovative, out-of-the-box assistance capability for Alexa is a reflection of that mission, and part of our ongoing commitment to digitally transform and dramatically simplify the roadside experience for drivers."

Agero currently protects more than 115 million vehicles, servicing approximately 12 million annual breakdown and accident events – that's nearly 1,400 events an hour. Agero's roadside services are available to drivers of two-thirds of new passenger vehicles, two-thirds of the top auto insurance carriers, and many others.

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Updated EV

2023 Nissan Leaf pricing announced

The Leaf got a mild facelift for 2023.

Nissan

Nissan is nearing the release of the Ariya, its first new EV in several years. Even so, the brand hasn't forgotten about its first mass-market EV, the Leaf. It was an early entrant in the space, and has been an efficient, affordable, commuter car for over a decade. The car got a mild facelift for 2023, with updated wheels and exterior styling accents. Today, Nissan announced pricing for the Leaf, which starts at just under $29,000.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf feels lively, despite middling power numbers.Nissan

The base Leaf comes with a 40-kWh battery capable of delivering a 149-mile range. Its 110-kW electric motor produces 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The Leaf SV Plus features a 60-kWh battery for a range of 212 miles. It comes with a 160-kW motor that makes 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Nissan backs all Leaf models with an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

ProPilot Assist comes standard for the Leaf SV Plus, and brings a full suite of advanced driver aids that include adaptive cruise control, driver alertness features, and a surround-view monitor. All Leaf models get Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic high beams, and rear automatic braking.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf SV Plus offers up to 212 miles of range.Nissan

The new Leaf starts at $28,895, which includes a $1,095 destination charge. The Leaf SV Plus starts at $36,895. The 2023 Nissan Leaf is on sale now, and may be eligible for federal tax credits of up to $7,500. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to receive a state tax credit or other incentives.

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Comfortable midsize sedan

2022 Nissan Altima: Three things to know

The Nissan Altima is a good value and a comfortable car.

Nissan

The Nissan Altima may not get the attention or the praise that the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord get, but it's a solid entry in an ultra-competitive segment. It's also one of few options in its class with available all-wheel drive. We spent a week with the 2022 Nissan Altima SR Midnight Edition with AWD and came away from the experience impressed. Here are three things to know about the car.

The 2022 Nissan Altima is a Good Value

With a starting price in the mid-$20,000 range and available all-wheel drive, it's hard to complain about value here. The Altima is still reasonably priced at the top end, where it maxes out at around $35,000 before options and fees. That's a great value for a spacious, comfortable car like the Altima, and with all-wheel drive it's a great all-weather commuter.

2022 Nissan AltimaNissan offers the Altima in several configurations.Nissan

2022 Altima Interior Space and Comfort are Generous

It's easy to ignore Nissan's Zero Gravity seats as another marketing buzzword, but they are legitimately comfortable and supportive in a way that not many others are. Available leather upholstery and contrast stitching give the interior an upscale feel, but even lower trims' cloth upholstery feels nice and works well from a visual standpoint. Up front, there's room for both passengers to stretch out, and the driver won't feel cramped on leg or headroom. Back-seat passengers get a similar treatment, as there's plenty of space for adults and kids. Parents will find an easy time loading and unloading car seats as well.

2023 Nissan AltimaThe Altima gets an update for 2023 with fresh styling and more tech.Nissan

The 2023 Nissan Altima Gets an Update

Nissan is refreshing the Altima for 2023 with a facelift, new tech, and better safety features. The new car will go on sale in the fall of 2022 and will come in several trims, including one with Nissan's truck VC-Turbo engine. The Altima's most noticeable update will be its front fascia, which is all-new for 2023. Nissan gives the car a fresh grille design that varies depending on the trim, and LED headlights will be standard. Nissan Safety Shield 360 is standard, and the Altima is available with all-wheel drive, ProPilot Assist, and more.

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