Car News

GM Lets Alexa Get Your Motor Running

Ever wish you could start your car by yelling at it? Well, more than 800,000 GM owners in Canada are getting the ability to do that. Sort of.

Drivers of most Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac vehicles built in model year 2011 or newer will be eligible to set up the Amazon Alexa Skill. It lets you ask Alexa to start your car for you to run the AC or help it warm up in the winter. General Motors is the first automaker to enable Amazon Alexa skills in Canada.

It's a pretty simple process. If you have an Alexa-enabled device in your home, you're probably already familiar with the process to add a skill. If not, you add the skill using a smartphone app. Then link it to your vehicle using your GM owner centre username. Then set up a pin to protect access.

That last one is important. If you use the virtual assistant, you might have experienced accidental activation. Like if something on TV says a command. So the service uses a pin, which it will ask you to say each time before starting your car.

Like GM's remote start options, the system limits the runtime to 10 minutes. Plus you can only remote start the vehicle twice before you have to get in and cycle the key. Or push the button if it has push-start. Since the system can't tell if you're running the car in a closed garage, it errs on the side of caution. And leaving your car running for hours isn't a great idea anyway.

On top of remote start, you can also ask the service to lock and unlock your vehicle.

The service went live today, and is offered at no extra cost to customers who already have remote key fob services activated through their myChevrolet, myBuick, myGMC or myCadillac mobile app.