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Volvo details XC90's big screen star

No distractions: The Volvo XC90’s display screen does away with the many buttons of the past in favour of a simpler layout.

Next-gen Volvo XC90 loses its buttons thanks to a new interactive display


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4 Jun 2014

VOLVO has released details of its upcoming XC90 SUV’s large centre console touchscreen, calling it the most modern in-car control system on the market and leaving the dashboard almost completely free of buttons.

The touchscreen, which is about the size of a large tablet such as an iPad, is integrated into the centre console within easy reach of the driver and is the interface for infotainment, navigation, phone and climate control.

Volvo Car Group vice president of electrics, electronics and e-propulsion engineering Thomas Muller said that safety was a vital factor in designing an interface which allowed intuitive and easy driver interaction with the touchscreen.

“As cars increasingly become more connected to the internet and are able to offer a far wider range of functions and entertainment services, the way in which the driver interacts with the car’s systems is becoming progressively more important,” he said.

“It is essential that these services are offered in a way that does not reduce safety levels and in a manner that is easy to understand and optimised for the driving task.” This usability of the system is key and is based on user experience research.

The layout of the display is a stack of tiles, each for a different function such as navigation or phone.

Users can tap the tile to expand, which makes the other tiles shrink. This eliminates the need to return to the main menu to select another function.

To prevent the driver from taking their eyes off the road, the digital instrument cluster interacts with the touchscreen information while a head-up display projects the vital information. Infra red steering wheel controls means the amount of times your hands leave the wheel is minimised.

The system, which combines the phone, infotainment and navigation is called Sensus was revealed to the world this year in January at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas and uses Ericsson’s Connected Vehicle Cloud.

This allows users to download apps such as Pandora for music and Park&Pay which lets you pay for your parking spot online from you car.

The new XC90 is also the first Volvo to have Apple CarPlay which replicates elements of your connected Apple product’s display on the centre screen to make interaction even more familiar.

The next generation XC90 is expected to arrive early in 2015. The current generation has been on sale since 2002.

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