In a partnership unveiled on Monday by two giants of Swedish industry, Volvo Car Group and Ericsson said they will be working together to turn people’s cars into yet another “connected” mobile device, alongside their smartphones and tablet computers.
“Turning the car into a smart device opens up all sorts of possibilities and a range of potential services for users,” Paolo Colella, Vice President and Head of Consulting & Systems Integration at Ericsson, told The Local.
“Offering access to the full range of digital services will give vehicle owners a completely new experience.”
Taking advantage of what Ericsson calls the Connected Vehicle Cloud, Volvo cars will be equipped with a dashboard mounted screen that will allow “the same level of digital services that consumers today are used to having in their homes, work, or on the go”.
“Drivers want services that technology makes possible, in real time and in the context that fits them personally,” Per Borgklint, head of Business Unit Support Solutions at Ericsson, said in a statement.
Among the applications set to be available to Volvo drivers are internet radio and digital music channels, navigation services, as well as direct links to toll operators and local road authorities.
“Some of the applications will be similar to those you would find on a smartphone, while others would be related more specifically to driving,” said Colella.
And if the in-car computer detects a problem that requires servicing, the Connected Vehicle Cloud also features an application that will automatically schedule an appointment at a local dealer or repair shop.
According to Volvo, cars have a “natural role in the networked society”.
“We clearly see that cars in the near future will integrate the same level of digital services that consumers today are used to have in their homes or at work,” Lex Kerssemakers, a Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at Volvo Cars, said in a statement.
According to Colella, users will initially be required to pair Ericsson-equipped Volvos with their smartphones in order to access the digital services through their dashboards.
But Colella added it’s “technically feasible” that the vehicles themselves may one day become mobile “hot spots” that would let users connect directly.
Colella explained that Volvo approached Ericsson about developing the system, which Volvo expects will be live by 2014.