It’s been almost a year since we met the masterminds behind Echo Auto and finally, we got our hands on one! It’s super exciting to get the world’s most advanced voice UI into the Jeep, This is especially exciting after our previous failed attempts of trying to get Echo Dot to work over mobile internet.
Alexa, engage turbo boost!– Michael Knight
The OEM JK Rubicon’s Bluetooth system is called U-Connect which is common across Chrysler products from Chargers to Caravans. It’s a functional system but there are two problems that we face regularly and I hope Echo Auto can solve.
- U-Connect aggressively connect to the phone, so when I try to take a call without using the crappy microphone in the Jeep, it hijacks the call repeatedly only seconds later
- The only solution is to turn off Bluetooth for the call. However, U-Connect will not reconnect afterward meaning any more Spotify via car speakers until Jeep is turned off for a while 😭
Calling with Echo Auto
I connected Echo Auto to the vehicle via Aux jack so the phone connects to the Echo instead of the stereo. I hope this would bypass the issues mentioned before, and it worked beautifully. The phone connects Echo as soon as I enter the Jeep and is able to reconnect after if I turn off Bluetooth for a call.
The call quality is much better than that of using the vehicle microphone. It’s loud in the jeep. However, on all the tests, call receivers can hear him/ herself speaking which is annoying as we know. I hope this gets fixed after the Beta.
Other than that, the Echo has full access to the phone contacts and can make calls as one would expect. Sweet! 📱
Music and Spotify
The default music experience in Echo is understandably Amazon Music. You can ask Alexa to play a specific song, a specific artist, or a genre of music. My primary app is Spotify, and you can do all of these things with Spotify using Echo Auto. However, current implementation doesn’t seem to support exploring new or navigating existing playlists via voice. That would have to be done via the Spotify app natively. I can see myself using Amazon Music more due to shorter voice command if all we are doing is requesting songs and artists.
Navigation.. a bit tricky
So you can ask Alexa about traffic conditions which is nice. You can also ask Alexa to look up places, and it will tell you the address. But if you want turn by turn navigation.. well not so much… (read on) 🤦♂️
Turn by Turn Navigation
If you want turn by turn navigation.. (who doesn’t?) Alexa sends you a notification on the phone that you have to click on, then launches Apple Maps…. 😂On an Android phone, you can change this to Google Maps by changing the phone default. But if you are on an iPhone like me, we are SOL. Who knows, maybe Santa will be kind and bring a Pixel 4 for Christmas! 🎅🏻
The daily briefing is nice, you can connect different news services via voice. You can also launch Audiobooks and ask Alexa for Jokes! Serious commute productivity! 💪
Echo Auto is not perfect but for someone with a semi terrible infotainment system its a serious blessing! In the past week, this tiny thing has drastically reduced the time I spend opening apps when getting into the vehicle and has increased the variety of content I consumer from mostly music to include news and audiobooks.
One can only expect Echo Auto to become more ubiquitous and improve over time. This is great news for all drivers and pedestrians alike. Looking for more exciting tech? Come on down to Reason and test drive the future in one of our future technology escape rooms. 🍄