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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The Google logo appears for the first time on a car thanks to the partnership.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

"Hey Google, where is my Fiat 500X Hey Google parked?" A new lineup of car models from Fiat celebrates the technology of Hey Google. The special editions are mainly just a publicity stunt (for both companies), but buyers will be able to place an order for the fresh 500 family models this month.

Each car in the special series is equipped with the Hey Google voice assistant. Owners can connect their car to the their Google Nest Hub (included in a welcome kit with purchase) and smartphone, should they so choose.

Owners will use the phrase "Hey Google, ask my Fiat…" to get answers regarding questions about where the car is parked, how much fuel is left, the location of the nearest workshop, and much more.

Fiat 500 Family Hey Google: Fiat 500

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

In addition to the tech, each Hey Google cars are equipped with unique exteriors and interiors. They have white paint jobs on their bodies and gloss black roofs and mirror caps. For the first time in automotive history, the Google logo is displayed on an automobile. The Hey Google badge is placed on the wheel arches of every model. Both B-pillars are also embellished with the multicoloured 'molecules' of the Hey Google logo.

The molecules are also displayed on the inside where they feature on the seats, which also have a label embroidered with "Hey Google". The dashboard fascia is matte silver with a white 500 logo.

At the center of the dashboard is a 7.0-inch touch screen display that features an animation where "Hey Google" appears then moves to the Google "G" then transforms to the Fiat logo.

Fiat will offer Hey Google editions of their 500, 500X, and 500L. The Fiat 500 hybrid Hey Google are priced from £16,005 OTR, 500X Hey Google priced from £21,765 OTR, and 500L Hey Google priced from £20,345 OTR

Deliveries are limited to the U.K. Ordering for the special series opens mid-April.

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Balmain's Creative Director Olivier Rousteing is a Porsche fan.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

What does it mean to "drive defined"? A new series of videos from Porsche and the Creative Director of the Paris fashion label Balmain, Olivier Rousteing, explorers the meaning of the phrase. Rousteing says that he's been "fascinated" by Porsche since childhood.

The designer, who grew up in France, worked at Roberto Cavalli before becoming the Creative Director at Balmain in 2011. The powerhouse fashion brand was founded in 1945 and was previously lead by Oscar de la Renta. Modern Balmain designs feature elements of French couture mixed with Asian influence. In 2019, the brand launched the KYLIE X BALMAIN, a makeup collaboration with social media influencer Kylie Jenner.

Olivier Rousteing sits in a Porsche Panamera during the filming of the short.Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

The short videos, published on Porsche's social media channels and on Rousteing's Instagram feed, focus on Rousteing's powerful inner driving force. In a release, the luxury car manufacturer says that there are "many similarities between the fashion designer and the sports car brand" including boundary pushing and an eye toward the tradition-rich history of the company Rousteing leads into the modern age.

"Olivier Rousteing is not just an authentic Porsche enthusiast, he is also a perfect fit for us with his desire to make Balmain a modern brand with the highest standards of quality and luxury," says Jelena Batic who is responsible for the cooperation at Porsche. "Together, we explore his exceptional driving force in the films by examining the connection between the worlds of sports cars and fashion, which creates relevance for our existing customers, as well as for younger and female target groups."

The series kicked off with a video featuring the Porsche Panamera. It was just the first step in a planned, longer collaboration between Rousteing and Porsche. Further aspects of the partnership are expected to be made public in due course.

Watch the first video below.

Drive Defined with Olivier Rousteing www.youtube.com

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