Fresh off a year of four major investments in the EV automaker, including a $1.3 billion round announced in late December, Rivian started 2020 with a big splash on the connectivity front.
Rivian said Monday it will integrate Amazon Alexa into the connected vehicle systems of the forthcoming R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV, giving drivers the ability to control things like HVAC and windows via Alexa, in addition to standard Alexa capabilities like making calls, playing music and more.
Users will also be able to view the truck bed camera through Echo Show and Fire TV devices and tap into new “car-to-home” and “home-to-car” skills exclusive to Rivian vehicles.
There also be certain Alexa features available to Rivian drivers during offline times for the vehicle.
The integration is expected to happen at the end of the year.
“Rivian’s vision is to enable exploration without compromises and provide our owners the best digital experience, no matter where their adventure takes them,” Rivian founder and chief executive RJ Scaringe said in a news release.
“We want this to be the most comprehensive, most seamless Alexa integration in the market,” Scarigne said.
Amazon’s vice president of Alexa Auto, Ned Curic, said in the release, “We’ve continued to be impressed by the entire team at Rivian, and we’re excited to be working together on this upcoming integration.
“By leveraging the newest version of the Alexa Auto SDK, Rivian is able to make Alexa a natural part of the driving experience and provide customers with continuous access to key car control features — even in remote locations where reception is poor or nonexistent,” Curic said.
Amazon announced an order of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian in September and plans on providing this same Alexa into those vehicles. Amazon plans to begin using those to deliver packages next year.
Amazon has been one of the core investors in Rivian. It led a $700 million funding in the EV automaker in February, which was followed by a $500 million investment from Ford Motor Co. in April and a $350 million investment from Cox Automotive in September.
Then on Dec. 23, Rivian announced a $1.3 billion round of investment led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, with Amazon, Ford and funds managed by BlackRock participating in the round, as well.
“This investment demonstrates confidence in our team, products, technology and strategy — we are extremely excited to have the support from such strong shareholders,” Scaringe said in a news release announcing the T. Rowe Price-led investment.
Rivian said its team and R1T pickup will be at the Amazon Automotive booth (North Hall No. 5616) at this week's CES conference in Las Vegas.