I’m pretty well known as a fan of artificial intelligence, at least with my own family members. I can wax philosophical about all the things AI will do over the next decade, including doing our taxes and driving our cars. While I am strongly against having AI write articles, I see the benefits of ChatGPT because of how the bot helps with repetitive tasks.
In a recent test of the 2023 Chrysler Pacifica, I noticed you can talk to Alexa — but not just for things like asking about the weather. In the Pacifica, you can ask the voicebot to do quite a few productivity chores for you, such as making reminders, doing a list for the grocery store, calling friends who also have an Alexa, and even ordering supplies.
These are fairly standard commands, and something you can do at home with an Alexa speaker. I’ve become accustomed now to asking about sports scores and setting reminders, but it’s nice to be able to do that in a moving vehicle as well.
I asked Alexa to do a few extra things while driving, just to test the features. I was surprised at how easy it was to search for a pizza place by voice and also to play some of my favorite songs, without having to rely on my phone or another app like Tidal.
The Pacifica goes beyond these well-known commands, though. You can ask Alexa to precondition the car so that it is warm or cold when you climb inside. Amazingly, you can do this from your home or the Alexa app on your phone.
Alexa also lets you ask about the fuel level, which is another time-saver. One example of this is when you know you have an important meeting the next day. At home or on the app, you can ask Alexa for the fuel level and then decide if you need to go get gas that evening.
Adding destinations is also easier. I remember when Google Maps first let you do this. You could search for an address on your phone, then send the destination to the car. It’s been around quite a while, but I never use it because it’s faster to just do that in the car. These days, it’s also faster to ask Siri to find destinations while driving. However, the real perk of using Alexa at home or when you are away from the car is that things come up in life at random times. You could be talking about a new movie like The Creator and then ask Alexa to find a nearby theater. You can then send the directions to the car. When you climb in, you just have to accept the new waypoint. It really saves time, especially if you are late for the movie.
I’m expecting all of these features to advance much further in the near future. ChatGPT has opened up our eyes to the possibilities. I can imagine doing a system check of the car by voice some day, finding out about any problems or maintenance issues. “Alexa, drive the car home” is not a pipe dream anymore, and should be coming within the next 5-10 years at least.
I like how the Chrysler Pacifica makes this all seem possible, and the voice control not only saves time but paves the way for an AI-powered future.