Automobile company, Volvo, is changing things up in some automobiles when it comes to its in-car infotainment system. The Swedish company announced this week just ahead of Google I/O 2018 that its next Sensus infotainment system for vehicles will include a scaled back version of the Google Assistant in addition to Google Maps and even a limited selection of apps users can install from Google’s Play Store.
Google Maps is the most advanced yet simple mapping technology in the world and will help drivers navigate to their destination with little getting in the way. The Google Assistant, which is more of a rare breed when it comes to inclusion in vehicles, will establish the communication connection in the car to keep all human eyes on the road. The Google Assistant will be able to handle tasks over voice and act as control of the interface, capable of doing just about everything touch can do from launching Google Maps to starting up some music for passengers to enjoy. Volvo says that users will even be able to adjust the car’s air conditioner using the Google Assistant, and beyond that, it can do many of its normal offline functions.
Now you may be thinking, is this Android Auto? The answer is yes, but not the full version. Instead of using the full Android Auto interface Google provides, Volvo is only including a number of its apps. Two other apps that will be included are for messaging, which requires you to pair your compatible cell phone, probably by wire, and Google’s Play Store, which brings a little more selection with certified third-party apps for users. The flip side of this not being Android Auto is the fact it’s built-into the vehicle and present all the time whether your phone is connected or not. You don’t need a certain Android smartphone for most function to work. The sacrifice is that Volvo has control over the system and its design, meaning it might not got upgrades as often had Google been the provider.
Volvo is all about safety, so you can rest assured everything included is safe. Otherwise, Volvo would never have included the features in its vehicles. Everything is easily accessible, controllable over voice, and doesn’t require attention spans more than two seconds. All you need is up front with large icons, little text and few taps you have to go through to get what you need set up for the drive. Volvo went to a great extent to make sure this is even more safe than standard Android Auto by eliminating almost all its distractions, which are never good while you’re on the road.
Could this be the trend of Android Auto for car-makers going forward? We’ll have to wait and see. On a side note, Google’s I/O developer conference ends today so maybe there’s still room left for Android Auto announcements like a system update or expanded support to provide a much-needed boost. As for Volvo vehicles, those with the company’s new infotainment system will have the inclusion of these Google apps. We don’t know exactly which this will be nor when and where they’ll come or if it will support wireless, but we’ll keep you updated shall we hear anything.
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