Volvo teams up with Google to put Android into connected cars

Volvo teams up with Google to put Android into connected cars

Volvo Google Android

The Android mobile operating system from Google is set to power in-car systems for Volvo Cars as the two companies announce their partnership. 

Google has partnered with Volvo to put its Android operating system into the next generation of connected cars. Models featuring the technology could be available in Volvo models within two years, according to an announcement from Volvo Cars.

The two companies said that using Android as the base operating system will increase speed and flexibility in development work and offer customers new options when it comes to personalizing their in-car, connected experiences.

Volvo will integrate the full version of Android into its cars, rather than Android Auto, which was always just an overlay on in-car entertainment systems that require a driver to carry an Android-powered smartphone or tablet.

Instead, Android will be used to control a wide range of systems within a car – not just the stereo and sat-nav, for example, but also things such as its air conditioning and windows. However, the OS won’t be used to control critical safety systems, such as brakes.

The large catalogue of popular Android apps – developed by Google, Volvo, or third-party app developers – will offer connected and predictive services in and around the car.

Henrik Green, senior vice president of Research & Development at Volvo Car Group, said the partnership with Google was “an important step”.

“Google’s platform and services will enhance the user experience by enabling more personalisation possibilities, while Android will offer increased flexibility from a development perspective,” he said.

“With the advent of Android, we will embrace a rich ecosystem while keeping our iconic Volvo user interface. We will offer hundreds of popular apps and the best integrated experience in this broad, connected environment,” said Green.

Volvo is also collaborating with Google on another initiative to update recent Volvo models by adding Google Local Search, a location-based service application. This will be released through an update to customers with Sensus Navigation.

Further details on the partnership and Android OS will be announced at Google’s annual tech show, Google I/O on May 17.

In other smart car news, Daimler has partnered with digital security specialist Gemalto to bring smartphone-based virtual car key technology to its Mercedes-Benz E-Class range. Daimler’s digital car key will allow drivers to lock/unlock and start their vehicles using nothing more than a smartphone. Underpinning this solution is Gemalto’s Trusted Services Hub, which according to the company, enables “seamless and secure over-the-air deployment” of digital keys to any type of phone that supports the solution.