The future is now – Volvo Cars and Microsoft enable people to talk to their cars
More than 33 years after the popular American TV show Knight Rider showed David ‘The Hoff’ Hasselhoff talking to his car, KITT, Volvo and Microsoft are launching a wearable-enabled voice-control system.
Volvo owners will be able to talk to their car via their Microsoft Band 2, allowing them to instruct their vehicle to perform tasks including setting the navigation, starting the heater, locking the doors, flashing the lights or sounding the horn via Volvo’s mobile app, Volvo on Call, and the connected wearable device.
In November 2015, Volvo and Microsoft announced their high-profile collaboration with the first automotive application of HoloLens technology. HoloLens is the world’s first fully untethered holographic computer, which could be used in future to redefine how customers first encounter, explore and even buy their car. Now the two companies are delivering remote voice control for Volvo cars via the Microsoft Band 2 as another proof-point in their ambition to jointly develop next-generation automotive technologies.
“Volvo is intent on making the car experience as easy and convenient as possible by utilising the latest technology in the most relevant and inspiring ways. With voice control, we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible with digital assistant functionalities,” said Thomas Müller, Vice President Electrics/Electronics and E-Propulsion at Volvo Car Group.
In recent times, Volvo Cars has begun to focus closely on innovations outside the traditional automotive arena, keen on opening up potential partnerships and new business models.
“When innovating, we are not interested in technology for the sake of technology. 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?” said Klas Bendrik, Senior Vice President and Group Chief Information Officer at Volvo Car Group.
"Our ongoing partnership with Volvo continues to bring ground-breaking technology to enhance the automotive experience," said Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President of business development at Microsoft. "Together with Volvo, we're just beginning to understand the potential that technology has to improve driver safety and productivity."
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 2016.
Notes to editors:
Launched in 2001, Volvo on Call became one of the first ever car-based telematics systems in the world, providing safety, security and tracking services in the car in case of accident, breakdown or theft using a car-installed SIM card. The latest iteration of Volvo on Call still provides the original safety functions as well as a broad range of car- and service-related functionality.
Today, Volvo on Call is available in the following markets: USA, Canada, China, Sweden, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Russia, Poland and Brazil. Read more about recent additions to Volvo On Call functionality.
Microsoft Band 2 enables you to live healthier by tracking your heart rate, exercise, calorie burn and sleep quality. The new Microsoft Band helps you reach your fitness goals, with 11 advanced sensors that provide you insights and data, whether you're running, cycling, playing golf or at the gym, across iOS, Android or Windows devices.
Microsoft Band 2 empowers you to stay connected while on the go, thanks to customisable email, text, calendar, call alerts and social updates.
Volvo Car Group in 2014
For the 2014 financial year, Volvo Car Group recorded an operating profit of 2,252 MSEK (1,919 MSEK in 2013). Revenue over the period amounted to 129,959 MSEK (122,245 MSEK). For the full year 2014, global sales reached a record 465,866 cars, an increase of 8.9 per cent versus 2013. The record sales and operating profit cleared the way for Volvo Car Group to continue investing in its global transformation plan.
About Volvo Car Group
Volvo has been in operation since 1927. Today, Volvo Cars is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world, with sales of 465,866 in 2014 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China since 2010. It formed part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999, when the company was bought by Ford Motor Company of the US. In 2010, Volvo Cars was acquired by Geely Holding.
As of December 2014, Volvo Cars had more than 26,000 employees worldwide. Volvo Cars' head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars' head office for China is located in Shanghai. The company’s main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium) and Chengdu (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China), and body components in Olofström (Sweden).