Volvo Cars to develop next generation automotive technologies with Microsoft
Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, will work together with Microsoft, the leading platform and productivity company, to jointly develop next generation automotive technologies.
The two companies today revealed how Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first fully untethered holographic computer, might be used in future to redefine how customers first encounter and explore a car, as well as how cars might be bought and sold in future.
Areas of future collaboration between the two companies could include autonomous driving technologies and the utilization of data generated from connected cars to create new services.
Today’s HoloLens demonstration was conducted at Microsoft’s global headquarters in Redmond, USA, and showed how mixed reality might be used by customers to configure cars in three dimensions. With HoloLens, a powerful, wearable computer, holograms are mixed into the physical world.
“HoloLens offers the freedom to create a bespoke experience which customers can steer themselves. Imagine using mixed reality to choose the type of car you want – to explore the colors, rims, or get a better understanding of the features, services and options available,” said Björn Annwall, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Service at Volvo Cars.
He added HoloLens technology might also liberate dealers from more traditional sales environments and allow them to take a car configurator out on the road in small Pop-Up stores, shopping malls or on the high street, opening up new sales channels and introducing cars to a far larger potential audience.
At the HoloLens demonstration today, participating journalists were also given a mixed reality preview of Volvo’s new S90 premium sedan, which will be unveiled in reality at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
Today’s event offered an indication of the potential of mixed reality to transform the relationship between the customer and the car. Journalists were able to experience Volvo’s new sedan and its latest autonomous driving technology in 3D before the car has even been built and launched.
“We are thrilled to be working with Volvo Cars to reimagine what is possible in car design, discovery and purchasing. We are excited to be at this intersection of technology and human-centric design with Volvo,” Scott Erickson, Senior Director, Microsoft HoloLens at Microsoft Corp.
Today’s demonstration marks the beginning of longer term cooperation between Volvo and Microsoft that will embrace a range of new technologies, all of which have implications for the automotive industry.
One area of focus will be autonomous driving. Volvo Cars is a pioneer in car safety and is leading the way when it comes to connected cars and autonomous driving. It has announced a program called Drive-Me in which 100 self-driving and connected cars will be given to real customers on real roads around the Swedish city of Gothenburg by 2017, the world’s largest autonomous driving experiment.
Other areas of cooperation are expected to include how information gathered by cars and their drivers can be used to enhance the driving experience and the possibility of using predictive analytics to improve safety.
“We are extremely happy to innovate with Microsoft in the field of future mobility,” said Klas Bendrik, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Volvo Cars. “Today’s technology will allow us to achieve not only a more sustainable and crash-free future but also new benefits for our customers and society. Together with Microsoft we aim to pioneer in this field.”
Volvo Cars unveils Concept 26, delivering the luxury of time
Volvo Cars’ ongoing research into autonomous driving has confirmed what we all know - that the daily commute is taking the joy out of driving. It is during the commute and on long-haul motorway trips that people are most willing to delegate the act of driving to their car.
With this in mind Volvo has developed Concept 26, named to reflect the average daily commute to work of 26 minutes – time that could be spent doing something more meaningful than sitting in stop-go traffic. Volvo has set out to bring choice and freedom back to the driver; to enjoy the driving experience when they want to, or to delegate driving to the car when they want to do something else.
Drive, Create, Relax
“It’s all about people. Our research clearly shows that some people will want to use their commuting time creatively when they have full autonomous drive available, while others will want to just sit back and relax, watch online media or listen to music. Autonomous drive will make all of this possible. This is what Concept 26 has captured by reimagining the entire car experience,” said Robin Page, Vice President of Interior Design at Volvo Cars.
Concept 26 is based around an all-new patented seat design that actively cradles the driver during the transformation phase into one of the three modes: Drive, Create or Relax. With these three modes the concept creates a new autonomous drive innovation platform that can adapt to new needs and technologies over time.
When the driver wishes to delegate driving to the car the steering wheel retracts, the seat reclines and a large display emerges from the dashboard allowing the driver to enjoy the time spent in the car as they like. Concept 26 embraces the need for radical change of the basic design of car interiors and provides a space that can be used as the driver/passenger wishes.
Concept 26 opens up a new paradigm of possibilities in the car - from entertainment to service provision and beyond, using the technology that is now a natural part of our everyday lives. It also signals the huge potential for new business opportunities and high-tech collaborations that autonomous drive will bring.
“We have gone to great lengths to understand the challenges and opportunities that autonomous cars will bring to people in coming years, and our flexible approach to engineering and design, enabled by our new Scalable Product Architecture, means that we can readily bring this from concept to reality,” said Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development at Volvo Car Group.
Volvo Cars’ ongoing Drive Me research project, which will see an extended fleet of fully autonomous cars driving real customers on the roads of Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2017 is further proof that Volvo is a leader in autonomous drive technology, building firmly on its foundation of safety.
“Volvo Cars is among the first to address the subject of self-driving cars and liability. We firmly believes that car makers should take full responsibility for the actions of the car when it is driving in full autonomous mode. If a manufacturer does not accept liability it clearly implies that they are not confident about their autonomous drive technology,” said Dr Peter Mertens.
Volvo Cars Debuts Concept 26 – An Autonomous Drive Concept
LOS ANGELES, CA (November 18, 2015)Volvo Cars unveiled Volvo Concept 26, an interior design concept and innovation platform for autonomous driving vehicles at the 2015 Los Angeles Motor Show.
Volvo Concept 26 represents a new way of thinking about how luxury autonomous cars will integrate into daily life. A result of extensive research on how people want to use autonomous driving and their time behind the wheel, Volvo Concept 26 provides various interior configurations that combine today’s needs with emerging trends and technologies to create a new experience when drivers no longer need to focus on the driving task. It is the first autonomous drive interior that is built on a vehicle platform available for sale today.
“Volvo Concept 26 addresses the notion that driving can still be fun and liberating on the right day and on the right road but that some parts of driving, notably the daily commute in many metro areas, is stressful, frustrating and even broken. By providing drivers the choice of when to drive or delegate driving, we are able to retain the love and freedom of the open road while fixing the broken commute,” said Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz, General Manager of the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center, the Volvo design center where Concept 26 was researched and developed.
Research conducted by Volvo shows that drivers could reclaim a significant amount of time from their daily commute, and make that time more meaningful, when given an environment to do what they wish. In the United States many drivers could regain an average of 26 additional minutes for each commute and several hundred hours per year. In large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles or New York, the time gained could be considerably more. In essence, Volvos equipped with Volvo Concept 26 will truly be “time machines”.
“Concept 26 allows drivers to use their time in ways never before possible in a car” added Tylman-Mikiewicz.
The concept is built around a patented and revolutionary new seat design that cradles the driver at all times and through the transformation between the different modes. Together with a tablet interface in the center console, a foldable tray table and a 25-inch flat-screen monitor that flips up from the passenger side dashboard, Concept 26 provides three interior modes: Drive, Create and Relax. Each mode offers a unique arrangement for drivers to maximize what they can do with their time while the car is in autonomous mode.
- Drive: This mode provides you with a great driving experience and minimizes driver distraction while driving manually. A true celebration of driving people love.
- Create: Volvo research indicated a variety of activities drivers wish they could do behind the wheel safely when they no longer need to focus on the driving task. Create mode allows for a variety of configurations of the seat, table and screens enabling the driver to complete a range of activities, such as reading, working on your next big project, or consuming media and other online content whilst the car takes care of the driving – always providing the driver with overall control.
- Relax: More than anything, a Volvo customer’s most valuable asset is their time. They seek experiences and products that allow them to recapture this time and make it meaningful. Concept 26 features a relax mode that transforms the seat into a comfortable reclining position. The vehicle can also curate and suggest content to the driver via the passenger dashboard mounted screen. Of course, sometimes the largest luxury of all is to just simply do nothing, relax and enjoy the ride.
With these three modes as a baseline, Volvo Concept 26 creates a new autonomous drive innovation platform that can adapt to new needs and technologies over time. The company is working with several partners, and invites others to join, in creating the best space for consuming media, interacting with devices or relaxing.
Volvo Concept 26 development was based on the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). It is one of the first Autonomous Drive concepts that is built on a product platform available to buy today.
“Volvo’s development of the Scalable Product Architecture allows us to innovate and quickly bring concepts to production when the market is ready,” said Lex Kerssemakers, President and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, “Volvo Concept 26 is a clear step towards rethinking how people want to use their cars today and in the future.”
As a company that prides itself in putting people at the center of innovation, Volvo is now leading the largest consumer conversation about autonomous drive at www.futureofdriving.com. Drivers from around the world are encouraged to visit and share their views of autonomous driving, which will help guide the future development in this area by Volvo Cars. Volvo will also continuously release more information about Concept 26 and other exciting products that will radically improve people’s commutes on this site.
More information about Volvo’s autonomous drive initiatives and the DriveMe project, where the company will put 100 customers in autonomous driving cars in 2017, can be found at www.volvocars.com/autopilot.