New E-Bike with Alexa!
Amazon’s Alexa seems to be just about everywhere these days, from microwaves to glasses, and now she can even accompany you during a bike ride, too.
The first ever Alexa-enabled bicycles will be available in stores throughout the UK from summer 2019 as part of a new initiative from the giant company, pioneered by the Cybic Legend range.
The new ‘smart bikes’ were unveiled in an official capacity at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and will start off in the UK and Ireland exclusively in Halfords stores across the country.
CES attracts some of the world's biggest technology companies annually, with the event running from January 8th to January 11th this year. New tech featured this year included 5G phones, humanoid robots and smart assistants, with giants like Sony, Samsung, LG announcing brand new innovations and soon-to-be consumer items. The exhibition is always a crucial date in the tech industry calendar and was attended by more than 180,000 people this year.
And it wasn’t just smart bikes that wowed the audience. For instance, LG unveiled the world’s first truly rollable television at the event, the Signature OLED, which extends upwards from the base to deliver a genuine 4K HDR experience. Unsurprisingly, the TV also supports Amazon’s Alexa, as well as Google’s Assistant and Apple’s AirPlay 2.
So just how does a cyclist use Alexa when out and about on two wheels?
A control panel mounted on the handlebars displays a menu which enables the user to access all of Alexa’s various functions. Through voice commands alone, a cyclist can ask for directions (in a similar vein to Google Maps), receive traffic updates, request upcoming weather forecasts, as well as a host of additional Alexa functions that users throughout the world have become accustomed-to.
Being able to speak directly to your bike removes the need to press buttons when cycling, making journeying with Alexa an altogether safer affair. The GPS mapping function is particularly useful for those times when you take a wrong turn but perhaps aren’t in a position to pull over and work out where you’re going. You can even send messages to your contacts, put together a shopping list, and order food in advance through Alexa.
While the E-Legend will be the showpiece for Amazon, customers can also purchase a non-assisted hybrid version of the bike. The top-of-the-range versions, however, are Wi-Fi enabled and come equipped with a Vodaphone sim with three years-worth of free 3G data, as well as an app that allows users to control the bike’s smart functions. Potential thieves can be thwarted through the bike’s security lock and alarm function that can only be accessed using the app.
Halfords will be the exclusive distributors of the Cybic rang, which includes a hybrid bike, the Cybic Legend, and an electric bike called the Cybic E-Legend, for the first 12 months – Andy Whitehall, speaking on behalf of Halfords, said: “We’ve seen innovations in alternative commuting go from strength to strength and after electric bikes we predict that the next big trend for commuters will be smart bikes.
“The Cybic contains all the features you love about Alexa, but now in a bike. The technology will help cyclists with many things including getting traffic updates, getting turn-by-turn directions, personalised light settings, playing music and much more.”
The Alexa-enabled bikes will also feature personalised light settings, granting the user the ability to turn on the front, rear and handlebar lightings using voice commands only; an HD music player is an additional feature that’s sure to impress consumers.
While prices for the Cybic bikes have yet to be confirmed, it’s estimated that each will cost in the region of £1,000, give or take. Over 20,000 devices are now compatible with Amazon’s AI – Alexa has gradually made paired herself up with some surprising devices too, even sparking a revival of Noughties novelty gift Big Mouth Billy Bass.
David Kumar, principal product manager at Alexa Voice Services (AVS), said: “Adding Alexa functionality expands the notion of “Alexa On The Go”, where Alexa is available anywhere where the bike is.
“The combination of Alexa and Cybic enables riders to enjoy a great range of innovative, integrated bike features without their hands ever having to leave the safety of the handlebars”.
Expect to catch more and more cyclists appearing to talk to themselves in the coming years!