In what is turning out to be an unprecedentedly long teaser campaign for a new Volvo, the electric XC40 is back in a new episode showing some of the technology you’ll find in the first EV from the Swedish brand. As part of a partnership between the Geely-owned automaker and Google announced in May 2017, the stylish crossover will boast a new infotainment system running on an Android operating system specifically developed for cars.
Officially known as the Android Automotive OS, it fully integrates all the essential features you’d expect, including Google Assistant, Google Maps as well as the Google Play Store. Owners of the Volvo XC40 Electric will be able to download new apps straight to the crossover’s infotainment system in the same vein as we all do with our smartphones.
Gallery: Volvo XC40 Electric
With time, the infotainment will get better as Volvo says it has been developed to support over-the-air updates to add new features and improve functionality. With millions of developers coming out with software for Android-running smartphones on a daily basis, it means there’s huge potential for Volvo’s in-car software to get better in the years to come.
Volvo points out that future updates to Google Maps will not only make the turn-by-turn navigation experience better but will also enhance the vehicle’s new Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. ADAS represents the suite of safety tech utilising radars, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors, and with Google’s help, road speed limits and other essential data will always be up to date.
Scheduled to premiere in a week from today, on October 16, the Volvo XC40 Electric will come with a front boot as previously revealed in a teaser. Exterior styling will be largely carried over from the conventionally powered model, but with a closed-off grille painted in the same colour as the rest of the body. A new hue – called Sage Green – along with fresh 19- and 20-inch alloys will set it apart from the standard crossover, and so will the special EV-related graphics in the digital instrument cluster.
Fully electric Volvo XC40 introduces brand new infotainment system powered by Android with Google technologies built-in
Volvo Cars is fundamentally rethinking infotainment in the forthcoming fully electric Volvo XC40. Powered by Android, the new infotainment system offers customers unprecedented personalisation, improved levels of intuitiveness and new embedded Google technology and services.
Volvo Car Group is the first company to team up with Google on integrating an infotainment system powered by Android, with the Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Google Play Store built-in. The two companies have been development partners for the past several years.
The new system offers full integration of Android Automotive OS, Google’s open-source Android platform, with real-time updates to services such as Google Maps, Google Assistant and automotive apps created by the global developer community.
The electric XC40 is also the first Volvo that will receive software and operating system updates over the air*, placing Volvo Cars at the forefront of automotive connected services. The fully electric XC40 will keep evolving and improving over time, rather than it being at its peak when it leaves the factory.
“We are finally giving you the same experience in your car that you’re used to on your phone, but adapted for safe interaction while driving,” says Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars. “And by introducing over-the-air updates for everything from maintenance to completely new features, the car can stay as fresh as your other digital products, always with the latest and greatest features.”
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 car. Technology and services created by Google and Volvo Cars developers are embedded in the car, while additional music and media apps optimised and adapted for cars will be available through the Google Play Store.
The Google Assistant allows customers to get things done using just their voice for in-car functions such as controlling temperature, setting a destination, playing their favourite music and podcasts on apps like Spotify, and keeping in touch by for example sending messages.
This integration contributes to reducing driver distraction, helping drivers keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. The Google Assistant also allows you to interact with your smart-home devices from your Volvo car.
Google Maps will be able to provide refreshed map and traffic data in real time, keeping drivers informed about upcoming traffic situations and proactively suggesting alternative routes, as well as suggesting the nearest charging station en route.
This same rich and fresh map data will be used to improve the capabilities of the XC40’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) by providing important information such as speed limits and curves in the road to the car.
Volvo Cars also continues to develop software and connected services, using its growing force of software engineers and its digital services platform Volvo On Call.
For example, the new infotainment system will be fully integrated with Volvo On Call, offering new features such as monitoring battery status and charging levels.
Volvo On Call classics such as pre-heating your car on a cold winter’s day, finding your car in a large parking lot, remote locking and unlocking and car sharing via a digital key are also included.
The fully electric XC40 will be first shown to the public on October 16.