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Volvo and Audi pair with Google’s Android

Swede deal: The Volvo-Google tie-in will produce a next-gen connectivity and infotainment system for the Swedish car-maker.

Google teams with Volvo and Audi to produce next-gen connectivity system


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16 May 2017

VOLVO Cars and Audi have announced they will partner with tech giant Google to develop the next generation of its infotainment and connectivity systems based on the Android platform.

The Swedish car-maker says that the arrangement will mean it has access to a wide range of apps and services and it will be rolled out to new Volvo models within two years.

The suite of Android apps will offer predictive and connected services in and around the car and will be developed by Google, Volvo or third-party developers.

Volvo says it believes that “smart partnerships” are the future of the automotive industry, given how connected cars are becoming.

By using Android as its operating system, Volvo says the development will be faster and more flexible and it will allow Volvo drivers to personalise their “connected in-car experience”.

Volvo Car Group senior vice-president of research and development Henrik Green said the new system would still maintain Volvo’s distinct look and feel.

“We are making an important strategic step with the Google partnership,” he said. “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.

“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.” Google vice-president of Android engineering Patrick Brady said the new platform would benefit Volvo buyers.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Volvo to bring Android into their next-generation connected cars,” he said. “This partnership gives us the opportunity to deliver a more seamless experience to Volvo drivers through a full-featured infotainment platform and rich ecosystem of Android applications and Google services.” Volvo has not said anything about whether it will continue to support Apple products by offering Apple CarPlay as part of its future connectivity platform.

It is not Volvo’s first major hook up with a tech-based company. Last year it announced that it had formed an alliance with ride-sharing company Uber to produce the next generation full autonomous self-driving vehicle.

Uber’s biggest rival, Lyft, has this week announced that it is partnering with Google-owned Waymo to develop self-driving car technologies.

It is unclear if Volvo’s tie-in with Google will impact its pre-existing relationship with Uber autonomous tech.

Audi on the other hand, has pledged it will bake Android into its next-generation vehicle systems, allowing control of air-conditioning systems, sunroof, windows and navigation even without a phone.

Google is promising a preview of the new system at this week’s Google I/O presentation, which kicks off on May 17.

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