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Volvo Cars and Volvo Trucks sharing live data
Image: Volvo Cars

Volvo Cars is to embed Google Assistant voice controls, Google Play Store, Google Maps and other Google services into its next-generation Android-based Sensus infotainment system.

The Swedish carmaker also said its vehicle would in future start sharing data with trucks made by AB Volvo, a separate company.

Volvo says that, by embedding Google technology, it will enable automatic and real-time software updates, information services and app downloads, as well as predictive services. Google Maps, for example, will give refreshed, real-time traffic and map data, to inform drivers about traffic conditions ahead and suggest alternative routes; Google Assistant will provide a voice interface for functions such as air conditioning, and via apps, music and messaging.

“Bringing Google services into Volvo cars will accelerate innovation in connectivity and boost our development in applications and connected services,” said Henrik Green, senior VP for research and development, Volvo Cars, in a statement.

Volvo Cars formed a strategic relationship with Google last year, and the first Android-based Sensus system will be launched ‘in a couple of years’, Volvo indicates. “The Google partnership to be entered into is an important strategic alliance for Volvo Cars,” Green added. “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.”

Volvo Cars has also announced this week that its cars are to share real-time data with Volvo Trucks. Live anonymized and aggregated data will be shared via the cloud between selected Volvo truck models sold in Sweden and Norway equipped with hazard-alert systems, and Volvo cars equipped with the hazard light alert system.

The vehicles will communicate with each other over potential safety issues they detect. Volvo’s hazard light alert system, available in 90- and 60-series cars and the XC40 since 2016, notifies nearby connected vehicles when the car’s hazard lights are switched on, indicating a potentially dangerous situation ahead – useful on blind corners and over the crest of hills, Volvo claims.

“Sharing real-time safety data based on our connected safety technology can help avoid accidents,” said Malin Ekholm, VP, Volvo Cars Safety Centre. “The more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become… Connected safety allows Volvo drivers to virtually ‘see around the corner’ and avoid a critical situation or accident before it happens. The ability to see further ahead and avoid hazards is something we want to share with as many drivers as possible.”

-Farah Alkhalisi