Imagine all of the crazy conversations you’ll have.
Volvo has always been at the forefront for safety and technology, but it’s latest partnership with Microsoft has given the brand the ability to do something that no other automaker has ever done: the ability to talk to one’s car. This is done through the On Call telematics app on the Microsoft Band 2 fitness tracker/smartwatch-like device. The device and app allow users to control certain functions on one’s Volvo via speech.
However, it’s not what we expected since you’ll only be able to give certain voice commands. That said, it looks like it works well and may expand to more functions later on in the future.
In a recent conversation with Autoblog, Volvo’s communications manager for connected cars Sascha Heiniger stated that the technology won’t be a convectional conversation, but more of a specific command. Heiniger stated that the voice commands will consist of a “specific phrase.” Unlike Apple’s Siri, users will only be able to use basic commands, such as “prepare my Volvo” to precondition the vehicle. Allowing the customization of voice command phrases is a possibility, but is not currently part of the plan. The two companies announced their partnership back in November 2015 with HoloLens technology.
According to VP of Electronic & E-Propulsion at Volvo Thomas Muller, the automaker is trying to make the car experience more convenient and enjoyable. “Volvo is intent on making the car experience as easy and convenient as possible by utilizing the latest technology in the most relevant and inspiring ways,” stated Muller. “With voice control we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible with digital assistant functionalities.” Volvo has always focused on innovations that are outside of the box and this new partnership appears to be quite fruitful. Unlike technology from other automakers, talking to our cars is something that we've always dreamed of and would actually be useful.
Volvo’s Senior VP Klas Bendrick believes that everything Volvo does is to make the customer’s life a little easier. “When innovating we are not interested in technology for the sake of technology,” stated Bendrick. “If a technology does not make a customer’s life easier, better, safer or more fun, we don’t use it. Let’s face it—who hasn’t dreamed of talking to their car via a wrist worn wearable?” Volvo’s customers will be able to connect their vehicles via voice control through the Microsoft Band 2 in the spring of 2016.