The Versatility Concept Car from Volvo is a vision of what interactivity in cars might be like ten years from now. Wireless networks make it possible to transfer significantly more information to your car - while still leaving you less to carry around.
The interactive system in the VCC is designed to enhance the overall premium experience, offering a system that is pleasurable to use and own. Ten years from now, products we use everyday will be linked together in networks. The VCC will be able to communicate with these networks, and become a natural part of our lifestyle. All entertainment features that are available at home, for instance movies and music, are now also available in the car.
In the Versatility Concept Car, there is no traditional audio unit or DVD player. Instead, the car is continuously connected to the home where music and movies are stored as electronic files. The car connects to the home using W-LAN, 3G or GPRS. These files are therefore accessible wherever the car is.
The Versatility Concept Car is also a response to the trend towards stacking increasing numbers of functions and controls in the centre console. In the VCC the number of controls on the centre console are reduced to only the climate unit and security functions, illustrating the Volvo heritage of Scandinavian simplicity. The sliders, controlling the temperature and fan speed, are designed to give the user a feeling of comfortably being in control of a very high-tech system - and enjoying it.
All other information is available to the driver in the display module, which features digital instruments of analogue design for speed, revs, engine temperature and fuel quantity. These gauges are a digital interpretation of the metal dials in Volvo's performance cars: the S60 R and V70 R. The digital screen for the instruments provides added flexibility: when the driver wants to use the navigation system, a map is superimposed over the speedometer readout and rev counter. In the same way, the display can create a pop-up window containing information about the music being played in the audio system.
When the car is started, the system confirms that all the car's safety systems are functioning properly by displaying all their icons in the display screen: WHIPS, SIPS, IC, DSTC, SRS AIRBAG. The driver controls the various functions via controls grouped around the steering wheel hub, and via conventionally positioned stalks on either side of the steering wheel.
However, the functions and information are not available only to the driver. One of the main objectives of the system is to bring the controls to the passengers - instead of placing it all in the centre console. The control units are not built into the car and can therefore easily be changed and upgraded if necessary - a feature that truly illustrates the Scandinavian approach to luxury.
In the Versatility Concept Car each passenger is given a wireless display with touch-functionality - a webpad. Using this, they can easily listen to their own music, watch films, browse the internet, or add a destination to the navigation system. The webpad can also serve as an information carrier between the car, the home and the office.
The old expression "a hand to hold" has undergone a new high-tech interpretation in the VCC. Volvo's V-Pulse is your electronic friend, who will tell you the status of the car. It is the part of the car that you can bring home, or show to your friends. It is a basic luxury is to know that your car remains untouched and safe from harm. The V-Pulse gives you someone to hold your hand in the dark, reassuring you that everything is ok, by generating a calm and regular heartbeat. The heartbeat is transmitted as a gentle pulsating sensation to your hand.
The frequency of the pulse would immediately rise if something was wrong. For example if the car was left unlocked or the alarm had gone off. You can then open the V-Pulse and see in the small display exactly what has happened. Communication with the car takes place via the GSM network. The V-Pulse bears Volvo's signature Iron mark from 1927, is also used to lock and unlock the car. By a gentle squeeze of the V-Pulse the car is unlocked - and the feedback by the raised pulse is immediate. The V-Pulse has a natural place in the centre console. In position, a gentle press of the V-Pulse starts the car.
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