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Volvo reveals new Android-powered infotainment system

Volvo has introduced a new Google ‘infotainment’ system into its new electric Volvo XC40. Powered by Android, the new infotainment system offers customers personalisation and new embedded Google technology and services.

Volvo 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, offering 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, which means it will continue to receive updates.

Volvo Cars chief technology officer Henrik Green says, “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. 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.”

The Android Automotive OS, the operating system familiar to millions of developers, is tailored to run in the car. As such, technology and services created by Google and Volvo developers are embedded in the car, while additional music and media apps optimised and adapted for cars will be released through the Google Play Store.

The Google Assistant allows customers use voice for in-car functions such as controlling temperature, setting a destination, playing music and podcasts on apps like Spotify, and sending messages.

This integration contributes to reducing driver distraction, helping drivers keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, Volvo says. The Google Assistant also allows users to interact with smart-home devices from the car.

Google Maps will be able to provide refreshed map and traffic data in real-time, informing drivers about upcoming traffic situations and proactively suggesting alternative routes, as well as suggesting the nearest charging station en route.

This same map data will be used to improve the capabilities of the XC40s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) by providing important information to the car, such as speed limits and curves in the road.

The global reveal of the electric XC40 will take place on October 16. New Zealand launch timing and pricing are yet to be confirmed.