This week Volvo announced the SUV would be the first to use a built-in infotainment system powered by Android, allowing access to all of Google's services in a straightforward manner. The two companies have been development partners for the past several years. The unit supports over-the-air updates for the software and operating system, provides great levels of personalization and embeds Google's technology and services. Volvo's new system has full integration with Android Automotive OS, the open-source Android platform with real-time updates for services like Google Maps and Assistant as well as automotive apps created by the global developer community. Some new features with the electric XC40 will be monitoring for battery status and charge levels. If the new OS can keep the simplicity and ease of use combined with new and improved features, it could be on to a victor.
One of the best features of Android Automotive OS is that it is an Android operating system familiar to millions of developers, tailored to run in the vehicle. The new operating system will not only offer the standard apps and features, but will also get optimised apps adapted for cars that are related to music and media, and can be downloaded via the Google Playstore.
As such, users will be able to do more beyond just setting a destination or playing their favourite music and podcasts on apps like Spotify, as they'll also be able to call upon the Google Assistant to adjust in-car functions like setting the climate control.
This integration contributes to reducing driver distraction, helping drivers keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
The new infotainment system will also be integrated with Volvo's own Volvo On Call app that offers remote functions, such as pre-heating the auto, locating it in a parking lot, and even sharing it via a digital key. The Volvo XC40 will debut on October 16.
Meanwhile, the electric XC40's Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) will use data from Google Maps to such as speed limits and curves in the road to improve its capabilities further.
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