Google maps, apps, voice assistant coming soon to new cars? OK, Volvo says

May 7, 2018

"OK Volvo play me more songs by Siouxsie and the Banshees and find the nearest Natural Grocers."

Volvo announced Monday that its next infotainment system will integrate more popular features from Google, including Google Maps, Play Store, and Google Assistant. Those apps are part of a larger partnership between the automaker and the software giant.

The partnership extends beyond the Android Auto compatibility already baked into new Volvo vehicles. The next-generation infotainment system will be based on the Android architecture that the search-engine company has shopped to other automakers such as Honda.

Last year, Google and Volvo announced that the next Sensus system would be based on Android and its Linux-based code.

Developing a secure, automotive-grade platform hasn't been easy for Google. Automakers and other industry insiders have voiced concerns over information sharing, privacy, and vulnerabilities in the open-source platform.

Despite those reservations, automakers such as Honda, Mazda, Mercedes, Ford, Nissan, and Toyota have committed to develop a secure framework for car systems, based on Android and Linux.

The new Volvo system could include over-the-air updates and third-party apps to Sensus.

A Volvo spokesman said that Google's app store guidelines will dictate security for third-party apps, and that new Volvos separate driving and car functions from infotainment and app systems.

Consumers can expect Google Maps to provide navigation and real-time traffic updates in future Volvos, along with voice-based control for climate functions and other car systems.

Apple CarPlay compatibility will still be supported by Volvo, a spokesman confirmed Monday. 

Volvo said its next-generation Sensus system would be ready "in a couple years." The vague timeline may coincide with the release of the new 60 sedan, which will be produced at a new plant in South Carolina.

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