Volvo first company to team up with Google on integrating an infotainment system powered by Android, with the Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Google Play Store built-in; both companies have been development partners for several years
Volvo Car Group has announced the introduction of an all-new Android-powered infotainment system in the upcoming fully-electric XC40 SUV. The new infotainment system will offer customers high levels of personalisation, in addition to improved intuitiveness and new embedded Google technology and services. Volvo will showcase the fully-electric XC40 for the first time to the public on 16 October, 2019.
The new infotainment system offers full integration of Android Automotive OS, which is Google’s open-source Android platform. It is equipped to provide real-time updates to services such as Google Maps, Google Assistant and automotive apps created by the global developer community. The electric XC40 will also be the first Volvo that will receive software and operating system updates over-the-air, placing the company’s cars at the forefront of automotive connected services.
A highlight feature of Android Automotive OS is that it is an Android operating system familiar to a large number of developers, tailored to run in the car. 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.
The Google Assistant enables users to carry out tasks by giving voice commands for in-car functions like controlling temperature, setting destinations, playing music and sending messages. This integration contributes to reducing driver distraction, helping drivers keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, the company noted. The Google Assistant also allows users to interact with their smart-home devices from the Volvo car.
Volvo said that Google Maps will be able to provide refreshed map and traffic data in real time. This will keep 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.
The company also said it will continue to develop software and connected services, using its growing force of software engineers and its digital services platform ‘Volvo On Call.’ 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 will also offer existing functions, such as setting the temperature in the car, finding the car in a large parking lot, remote locking and unlocking, and car sharing via digital key.
Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer, Volvo Cars, said the company is giving the same experience in the car that users encounter on their phone, but adapted for safe interaction while driving. By introducing over-the-air updates for everything from maintenance to completely new features, the car can stay as fresh as other digital products, he added.