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 Alexa Drivers 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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Limited-edition pickup truck

Ford offering limited edition colors for 2022 Ranger Splash

The Ranger Splash will be offered in three limited-run colors.

Ford

During its time off the market in the United States, the Ford Ranger remained a popular utility vehicle in global markets. In other markets, the truck is offered in unique special editions, such as the Ranger Raptor and Ranger Storm, but the options in the U.S. are limited. Last year, Ford announced the return of the Ranger Splash, a funky version of the truck that roamed the streets in the 1990s. Today, the automaker outlined another Splash edition, this time to be produced in limited quantities with special color options.

Ford will offer three colors for the new Ranger Splash Limited Edition: Snow Edition, Forest Edition, and Sand Edition. The colors will roll out one at a time "every few months," according to Ford, and the package will add $1,495 to the Ranger's price tag.

Ranger Splash Limited Edition The Snow Edition is based on the Lariat trim, but the other two are based on the lower XLT model.Ford

The Lariat Ranger Splash Snow Edition features a gray paint color with black exterior trim and a unique grille design. Inside, the truck carries ebony leather upholstery with ash gray accent stitching and carbon touches. Ford says it will produces just 750 Splash Snow Edition trucks, with availability starting in spring.

The XLT Ranger Splash Forest Edition (pictured above) comes with Forged Green exterior paint and red grille accents. The interior offers black cloth upholstery with ash gray accent stitching and carbon accents. Just 500 Forest Edition vehicles will be produced, with availability starting in summer.

Ranger Splash Limited Edition The colors will roll out every few months in 2022. Ford

The third and final truck in the series is the XLT Ranger Splash Sand Edition. It gets Desert Sand exterior paint, dark exterior accents and red grill "nostrils." It also gets black cloth upholstery with ash gray stitching and carbon accents. The Sand Edition will debut in fall with a run of only 500 trucks.

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Chevy recently dropped a load of specs and opened orders for the new Silverado EV.

Chevrolet

After months of teases and speculation, Chevrolet took the wraps off its 2024 Silverado EV pickup truck. The long-awaited electric truck lands with impressive range of up to 400 miles, plenty of power, and neat features that improve its ability to do "truck stuff." The $105,000 RST First Edition model sold out in 12 minutes, so we're here to ask the question: Would you line up to buy one?

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV It's all about the screens in the RST First Edition model. Chevrolet

Chevrolet will offer the truck in two trims at launch: A fleet-oriented WT (work truck) model and a consumer-friendly RST First Edition model. Chevy says it will eventually offer a fleet model with 20,000 pounds of max towing capacity. The WT model will launch first with 510 horsepower and 615 pound-feet of torque, which adds up to a towing capacity of 8,000 pounds and 1,200 pounds of payload. The RST trim offers a Wide Open Watts (WOW) Mode that bumps power to 664 ponies and 780 pound-feet of torque, which is good for a 0-60 mph time of just 4.5 seconds.

The RST model offers advanced features to make daily driving easier for the everyday buyer, including four-wheel steering, automatic adaptive air suspension, a 17-inch touchscreen and 11-inch gauge cluster, a 14-inch head-up display, and Super Cruise with trailering capability. An available onboard generator system can produce up to 10.2kW of power for equipment such as worksite power tools or campsite gear.

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV Preorders for the $105,000 RST First Edition sold out in just 12 minutes.Chevrolet

Both trucks come exclusively in crew cab format, and will offer an "eTrunk" where the engine bay would be in a traditional truck. The lockable, weatherproof compartment can carry a large suitcase, and adds to the Silverado EV's already impressive interior storage. The RST's center console can swallow more than seven gallons of gear, which is large enough to hold a small lunch cooler, according to Chevy. RST models are also available with GM's excellent Multi-Flex tailgate, but there's a new feature for the electric truck that its gas-powered counterparts don't get: A Multi-Flex Midgate that opens the space between the cab and bed for carrying longer cargo. Using the function won't interfere with use of the back seat, either, so the truck will still carry at least four people.

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