• Volvo and Google Come Together to Create an Android-Based Infotainment OS for Cars

No new Volvos in sight at the L.A. Auto Show as connectivity takes center stage

The big news from Volvo’s booth at this year’s L.A. Auto Show isn’t about any new models, because there aren’t any. In fact, the automaker didn’t bring a single car. Instead, Volvo’s emphasis was placed on a new Android-based operating system that is currently being co-developed with Google, and it could eventually be seen spreading throughout the Geely-owned family of marques.

Technology is paramount for Swedish automaker Volvo, this much we’ve known for years. But Volvo took it one step further by using the L.A. Auto Show as a place to talk about its future technologies, not about a futuristic concept car or a world premiere of sorts. We don’t really know too much about the new infotainment system that’s in the works but judging by the alliance involved; it should be impressive once ready.

New OS might become a benchmark in the field

Volvo and Google Come Together to Create an Android-Based Infotainment OS for Cars
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Volvo disclosed that it’s developing a new operating system for its cars with help from Google.

The new system, which will be based on Android architecture, will allow for seamless connectivity with all other existing OS's as well as make way for third-party services to be implemented.

Obviously, this being Volvo, safety is a top priority, so you won’t get games on the infotainment screen on the dash - that’s reserved only for the back passengers. Some of the apps you can expect to see on upcoming Volvo models are Google Maps, Spotify, and the latest Amazon in-car package delivery app. It will also probably render Android Auto obsolete although it is interesting to see how seamless the connectivity with non-Android-based devices will actually be.

According to Motor Trend, who took part in a roundtable organized by Volvo at the L.A. Auto Show, the manufacturer is currently relying less on third-party software as it looks at ways to develop its own technology that will ultimately allow over-the-air updating of the OS, Tesla style. Volvo’s chief of R&D and Google executive Mickey Kataria admitted, however, that updates won’t work as quickly as they do on mobile phones. After all, a number of other automakers struggled with the implementation of over-the-air updates since dealers want customers to come to them to have the updates installed.

Volvo and Google Come Together to Create an Android-Based Infotainment OS for Cars
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Connectivity at 5G levels will be welcomed by the new OS, and the first models that will get 5G from the factory will be the Polestar 2 and 3 models that will sit on the new, second-generation, SPA platform.

This platform will feature, beside the new Android-based OS, an incorporated computer that will manage all things related to in-car infotainment as well as level 5 autonomous driving.

The new OS and accompanying interface will debut globally in 2020, although it will look different in China, the home of Volvo’s owner, Geely. That’s because Government regulations there regarding the world wide web would limit some of the apps’ functionalities and other third-party content. That’s why iFly will replace Google voice for voice commands, and Autonavi will be the navigation app. What this tells you is that Geely cars, as well as Lynk & Co. models, will get the new OS in the future as well.

Further Reading

The L.A. Auto Show is Going to Be Packed and Some Genius Decided to Keep Volvo's Stand Empty
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The L.A. Auto Show is Going to Be Packed and Some Genius Decided to Keep Volvo’s Stand Empty

2018 Volvo 360c
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Read our full review on the 2018 Volvo 360c.

Source: Motor Trend

Michael Fira
Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read full bio
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