Volvo plans to embed Google services in next-generation infotainment system

Volvo and Google

Google announced integration with Volvo cars ahead with Google Maps, Apps and Assistant integration.

If Google has its way, more of your smart home products will be powered by its latest take on Android.

If you're the type of person who absolutely must use Google Maps, even if you have a fully functional navigation system in your vehicle, then Volvo's latest news will be right up your alley. Android TV is still a bit player in a game dominated by Roku and Apple TV, but if the JBL Link Bar is a sign of things to come, that could change in 2018.

"A big investment has been to take Android, the mobile platform, and make that a true automotive platform", Patrick Brady, vice president of engineering for Android, told Fortune. That puts thousands of Google-approved apps within reach of the dashboard of any Volvo with this system. But Android P seems to be focused on improvements in interface design and refurbishing of visual elements. And Brady predicts "crazy adoption" by automakers. The company goes on to say that "even after the official support window ends, you will still be able to continue to push app updates to your devices". The first Android-based system is meant to be launched in a couple of years from now, according to Volvo, which didn't provide a specific date. The first stable release of Android Things means IoT developers can leverage the Android partner ecosystem, Google Assistant, and Google's machine learning capabilities.

"The Google partnership to be entered into is an important strategic alliance for Volvo Cars", Henrik Green said. Apps and services developed by Google and Volvo Cars are embedded in the vehicle, plus thousands of additional apps are available through the Google Play Store that is optimized and adapted for Android-based auto infotainment systems.

It's all thanks to Android, which will form the underpinnings of the next version of Volvo's Sensus system.

Reuters reported that in each category, Google's Android system posted less market share past year than manufacturer-customized Android variants, which are less fruitful for Google because they typically are not pre-loaded or compatible with its apps.

Google Maps will also enable the next generation of Sensus to provide refreshed map and traffic data in real time, keeping drivers informed about upcoming traffic situations and proactively suggesting alternative routes.

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