FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Volvo's Versatility Concept Car -
Interactive Design for Smarter Luxury
NEW YORK, NY (April 15, 2003) - The Versatility Concept Car (VCC) from Volvo is a vision of what interactivity in cars might be like ten years from today. Wireless networks make it possible to transfer more information than ever to your car - while leaving you less to carry around. It's a concept Volvo calls "Smarter Luxury" and includes:
The interactive capability of the VCC is designed to enhance the overall premium experience, offering a system that is pleasurable to use and own. In our everyday lives, ten years from now, products will be linked together in networks. The VCC will be able to communicate with these networks, to allow them to become a natural part of our lives. All entertainment features that are available at home, such as movies and music, are 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.
"Less is more..."
The Versatility Concept Car is also a reaction to the trend towards stacking increasing numbers of functions and controls in the center console. In the VCC the amount of controls on the center console have been reduced to only the climate unit and security functions, showcasing Volvo's excellent ergonomic design heritage and Scandinavian simplicity. The sliders, controlling the temperature and fan speed, are designed to give the user a feeling of well being, and of being in control of a very high-tech system.
All other information is available to the driver in the display module, which features digital instruments of analogue design for speed, rpm, 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 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.
These functions and information are not available only to the driver. One of the main ideas about the system is to bring the controls to the passengers - instead of placing it all in the center console. The control units are not built into the car and can therefore easily be changed and upgraded if necessary - a feature that truly shows 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.
"A hand to hold"
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 a very personal part of the car that you can bring home or show to your friends.
A basic luxury is to know that your car and friends are untouched and safe from harm. The V-Pulse gives you "something to hold in your hand in the dark;" reassuring you that everything is okay by generating a calm and regular heartbeat. The heartbeat is transmitted as a gentle pulsating sensation in your hand.
The frequency of the pulse would immediately rise if something were wrong. For example, if the car was left unlocked or the alarm had gone off, you could open the V-Pulse and see in the small display exactly what has happened. Communication with the car takes place via the GSM network.
This soft and pleasantly rounded Scandinavian jewel, bearing 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 raised pulse is immediate. The V-Pulse has its natural place in the center console. In position, a gentle press of the V-Pulse starts the car.
For more information contact:
James Hope or Dan Johnston - Product Communications
Public Affairs, Volvo Cars of North America, LLC
Media website: www.volvocars-pr.com