Vehicle connectivity through wearable technology

| Information and Communication Technology

Connecting wearables to cars

Volvo and Microsoft are working together on developing connectivity between vehicles and drivers using wearables to improve comfort and safety.

Three decades after David Hasselhoff talked to his car KITT in the TV series, Knight Rider, Volvo has developed a technology alongside Microsoft that enables voice control of the vehicle.

Using the technology, which is based on the Microsoft Band 2 wristband, Volvo owners will be able to set navigation devices, switch the heater on, lock the doors, flash the lights and sound the horn. All this will be achieved using the Microsoft wristband and the “Volvo On Call” app.

The partnership between the global software giant and the Swedish car manufacturer began just three months ago with the use of HoloLens technology, the first fully untethered holographic computer. HoloLens will be used in the future to redefine how customers first encounter, explore and even buy a car.

Now the two companies have gone to the next step and are using the wristband and the app to provide remote voice control as an important signal of the two companies’ goal of developing and delivering next generation automotive technology.

Commenting on the intention of the company to make owning and operating a car as easy and convenient as possible, Volvo’s VP of Electronics and E-Propulsion, Thomas Müller stated, “With voice control, we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible with digital assistant functionalities.”

The move into the use of wearables as the next step in vehicle connectivity is a good example of Volvo’s recent forays into areas of technology that are traditionally unfamiliar for the automotive industry. To support this drive into new areas, Volvo is open to new partnerships and business models, the company said.

“When innovating we are not interested in technology for the sake of technology,” said Klas Bendrik, Senior Vice President and Group Chief Information Officer at Volvo Car Group.

“If a technology does not make a customer’s life easier, better, safer or more fun, we don’t use it. Let’s face it – who hasn’t dreamed of talking to their car via a wrist worn wearable?”, he concluded.

Commenting on Microsoft’s role in the innovative partnership, the company’s VP of business development, Peggy Johnson said, “Our ongoing partnership with Volvo continues to bring ground breaking technology to enhance the automotive experience.”

“Together with Volvo, we’re just beginning to understand the potential that technology has to improve driver safety and productivity,” she concluded,

The new possibility to connect to a Volvo with voice control through Microsoft Band 2 will be available for customers in Volvo on Call enabled markets in spring this year.

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