Volvo Cars is rethinking infotainment in the forthcoming fully electric Volvo XC40. Powered by Android, the new infotainment system is claimed to offer customers personalisation, improved levels of intuitiveness and new embedded Google technology and services.
Volvo Car Group is the first company to team up with Google on integrating an infotainment system powered by Android, with Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Google Play Store built in. The two companies have been development partners for the past few years.
The new system offers full integration of Android Automotive OS, Google’s open-source Android platform, with real-time updates to services such as Google Maps, Google Assistant and automotive apps created by the global developer community.
The electric XC40 is also the first Volvo that will receive software and operating system updates over the air. The company says that the fully electric XC40 will keep evolving and improving over time, rather than it being at its peak when it leaves the factory.
“We are finally giving you the same experience in your car that you’re used to on your phone, but adapted for safe interaction while driving,” says Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars. “And by introducing over-the-air updates for everything from maintenance to completely new features, the car can stay as fresh as your other digital products, always with the latest and greatest features.”
Technology and services created by Google and Volvo Cars’ developers are embedded in the car, while additional music and media apps optimised and adapted for cars will be available through the Google Play Store.
Google Assistant allows customers to get things done using just their voice for in-car functions such as controlling temperature, setting a destination, playing their favourite music and podcasts on apps such as Spotify, and keeping in touch by, for example, sending messages.
Google Maps will be able to provide refreshed map and traffic data in real time, keeping drivers informed about upcoming traffic situations and proactively suggesting alternative routes, as well as suggesting the nearest charging station en route.
This same map data will be used to improve the capabilities of the XC40’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) by providing important information such as speed limits and curves in the road to the car.
Volvo Cars also continues to develop software and connected services, using its growing force of software engineers and its digital services platform, Volvo On Call. For example, the new infotainment system will be fully integrated with Volvo On Call, offering new features such as monitoring battery status and charging levels. Volvo On Call classics such as pre-heating your car on a cold winter’s day, finding your car in a large car park, remote locking and unlocking, and car sharing via a digital key are also included.
The fully electric XC40 will be first shown to the public on 16 October.