Volvo could soon have the best infotainment system on the market.
In a surprise move, Volvo decided not to debut any new models at the LA Auto Show. In fact, it didn’t have any cars on display at all. Instead, it’s been showcasing technology that future cars will adopt. Volvo has teamed up with start-up company Luminar to demonstrate “the most advanced LiDAR sensor and perception capabilities to date” that will aid the development of autonomous technology for Volvo cars.
Using pulsed laser signals to detect objects, the technology will allow autonomous cars to navigate safely in complex traffic environments at higher speeds. The technology will also enable sensors to detect human poses including individual limbs such as arms and legs for the first time, as well as objects at a range of up to 820 feet – a much further range than any LiDAR technology currently available.
According to a report by Roadshow, Volvo also discussed its new Android infotainment system that’s currently in development at the show. Executives confirmed that the first model to incorporate the operating system won’t be a Volvo, however – instead, the Polestar 2 electric sedan will be the first car to get the upgrade when it hits the market in 2020. After that, the new interface will be rolled out in Volvo cars running on the CMA architecture such as the XC40.
It won’t be long, however, before every Volvo's in-car tech is powered by Google's Android software. "After (XC40), it will roll out in the SPA cars, the larger vehicles," Volvo's research and development executive, Henrik Green, told CNET. "It will go into all of our Volvo vehicles. Even before we launch SPA 2 [in 2021] it will have rolled out in almost all the Volvo vehicles."
The new interface will incorporate a number of Google services into Volvo cars. Navigation will be handled by Google Maps., while Google Assistant will provide voice recognition capability. Apps such as Spotify and Alexa will also be embedded in the Android operating system. iPhone users won’t be left out either, as Apple CarPlay will still be available and iOS devices will work seamlessly with the new Volvo system.
Volvo and Google are currently finalizing how the new system will look, though it will likely look like a cross between Android Auto and Volvo's current Sensus interface. “We're taking the opportunity to make it a bit fresh. If you're a previous Volvo owner, you will feel comfortable enough that you know where you are, but at the same time it will give you some new and fresh experience."