Echo Auto Review and Video Demo

Introduction

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.

  1. 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

  2. The only solution is to turn off bluetooth for the call. However, U-Connect will not reconnect afterwards meaning no 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 receiver can hear him/ herself speaking which is annoying as we know. I hope this gets fixed after the Beta.

Other than that, Echo has full access to the phone contacts, and can make calls as one would expect. Sweet!

Music and Spotify

The default music experience on Echo is understandably Amazon Music. You can ask Alexa to play a specific song, a specific artist, or a genera of music. My primary app is Spotify, and you can do all of these things with Spotify using Echo Auto. However currently implementation doesn’t seem to support exploring new or navigating existing playlists via voice. That would have to be done via 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 condition 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) 丹儭

Turn by Turn Navigation

If you want turn by turn navigation.. (who doesn’t?) Alexa send 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!

Daily Briefing

Daily briefing is nice, you can connect different news services via voice. You can also launch Audio books and ask Alexa for Jokes! Serious commute productivity!

Conclusion

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 audio books.

Like all emerging technology, one can only expect Echo Auto to improve over time and that is great news for all drivers and technophiles alike. If this speaks to you and future tech generally excited you, come on down to Reason and experience one of our future technology escape rooms. We’d love to show you what the future has in store!