Android Auto: Volvo Unveils Its Redesigned Infotainment System

August 11, 2017 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Volvo, this week, unveiled its redesigned infotainment system which is called Sensus Connect. Aside from just giving it a nice face lift, Volvo has also integrated both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay a bit more, giving the user a much better experience in the car. Now with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, owners are still able to adjust other parts of the car, like climate control. This is something that other car makers have already done with its own system, like Chrysler and Chevy (only in the Bolt EV though). Volvo made Sensus Connect much easier to control this year, with just about every feature being a simple swipe away. Making it easier to get to whatever option you are looking for.

Sensus Connect was also built in a way that Volvo is able to add features in the future, without needing the driver to upgrade their car to a newer model. So drivers can expect to see over-the-air updates for their vehicle in the future. Since AT&T is included in Volvo’s vehicles, drivers will be able to update using AT&T’s 4G LTE network. It’s currently unclear whether that data would be zero-rated or not, but it likely would be. Especially if these OTA updates are fairly large in size.

When it comes to actual Android Auto, nothing has actually changed just yet. The functionality is all still there as you would expect, however the main difference here is that it is easier to get to when you plug in your smartphone, as well as a bit faster. At Google I/O, Volvo demonstrated an upcoming version of its infotainment system which would be completely powered by Android. The car maker is planning to roll that out in the next two years. So unfortunately, that is still a bit away. But this is a step towards that future.

A couple of the new features included in this version of Sensus Connect include Volvo On Call, and Skype. With Volvo On Call, users are able to remotely start their car, automatically set the climate in their car, as well as a few other things. It’s an app that is available for iOS and Android, allowing you to control your car from your phone. It will also let you know where your car is, and give you mileage reports, which can be really useful if you use your car for work. The app is available for smartwatches – mostly Android Wear and the Apple Watch – so you can start your car from your wrist. Now with Skype, Volvo has added Skype for Business support to its 90 series vehicles. And Volvo is the first car maker to do so.

Sensus Connect has been completely redesigned and will be available on all of Volvo’s 2018 models, which begin selling this year. It’ll first be available on the Volvo XC90. This is a big deal for Volvo, and the car maker says that its main reason for redesigning Sensus Connect is that it found that luxury vehicle owners always want to be connected, and now with this update to Sensus Connect, they can do just that.