Volvo Cars, announced it is working with Google to embed the voice-controlled Google Assistant, Google Play Store, Google Maps and other Google services into its next-generation Sensus infotainment system, based on Google’s Android operating system. Also, Volvo Cars and leading truck maker Volvo Trucks announced that they will share real-time data to expand coverage of the companies’ connected safety technology, a cloud-based system that allows vehicles to communicate with each other and alert drivers of nearby hazards.
Data About Volvo Sharing Data
This is the first time Volvo Cars is sharing safety related data with another company. The collaboration with Volvo Trucks represents the first step towards achieving a critical mass of connected vehicles that could have a significant impact on overall traffic safety.
From 2018, live and anonymised data will be shared between selected Volvo trucks sold in Sweden and Norway with the company’s own hazard-alert systems, and Volvo cars equipped with Volvo Cars’ Hazard Light Alert system.
Volvo Cars has a strong history of sharing safety knowledge with others in the interest of saving as many lives as possible. In 1959, Volvo opened the patent for the three-point seatbelt to all other car makers, saving an estimated one million lives to date.
“Sharing real-time safety data based on our connected safety technology can help avoid accidents,” said Malin Ekholm, vice president of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre. “The more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become. We look forward to establishing further collaborations with other partners who share our commitment to traffic safety.”
Volvo Cars’ Hazard Light Alert technology is the first of its kind in the automotive industry. As soon as any equipped Volvo switches on its hazard lights, an alert is sent to all nearby Volvo cars connected to the cloud service, warning drivers to help avoid potential accidents. This is particularly useful on blind corners and over the crest of hills in the road.
Hazard Light Alert has been available in Sweden and Norway since 2016, where it is standard on all 90 and 60 series cars as well as the XC40. Adding selected models of Volvo Trucks’ fleet to the cloud will cover more area, identify more potential hazards and boost overall traffic safety. Both Volvo brands represent a considerable portion of new vehicle registrations in the region.
“Connected safety allows Volvo drivers to virtually ‘see around the corner’ and avoid a critical situation or accident before it happens,” said Malin Ekholm. “The ability to see further ahead and avoid hazards is something we want to share with as many drivers as possible.”
By anonymizing, validating and aggregating the data that is collected and shared, the initiative will comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that is rolled out across the EU this year.
Volvo & Google Interactions
Volvo Cars’ partnership with Google will further enhance the way Volvo customers engage with and interact with their cars. Apps and services developed by Google and Volvo Cars are embedded in the car, plus thousands of additional apps are available through the Google Play Store that is optimized and adapted for Android-based car infotainment systems.
Since the next generation of Sensus will run on Android, new apps and software updates will be available in real-time and can be automatically applied. This allows future Volvo cars to react to customer needs and offer drivers up-to-date information and predictive services.
“Bringing Google services into Volvo cars will accelerate innovation in connectivity and boost our development in applications and connected services,” said Henrik Green, senior vice president of research and development at Volvo Cars. “Soon, Volvo drivers will have direct access to thousands of in-car apps that make daily life easier and the connected in-car experience more enjoyable.”
The Google Assistant provides a central voice interface for the car that allows drivers to control in-car functions such as air conditioning, and use apps to play music and send messages. This integration contributes to reducing driver distraction, helping drivers keep their eyes on the road at all times.
Google Maps will also enable the next generation of Sensus to provide refreshed map and traffic data in real time, keeping drivers informed about upcoming traffic situations and proactively suggesting alternative routes.
Today’s announcement builds on the strategic relationship between Volvo Cars and Google, when Volvo Cars last year announced the new generation of its infotainment system will be based on Google’s Android platform. The first Android-based system will launch in a couple of years from now.
Volvo Cars is committed to developing strategic relationships with third parties to broaden the range of connected services offered to Volvo customers, embracing the disruption currently underway in the car industry.
The company also continues to develop its own apps, software and connected services within the Volvo Car Group, using its growing force of software engineers.
“The Google partnership is an important strategic alliance for Volvo Cars,” Henrik Green said. “The Android platform, Google services and Google’s working relationship with app developers in-house and worldwide will help us further improve the Volvo car experience.”