Control your Volvo car from your Apple Watch
Volvo Cars is set to release an updated version of its ground-breaking Volvo On Call smart app, delivering seamless connectivity with wearables such as the Apple Watch and Android Wear. This will effectively allow Volvo drivers with the Volvo On Call app to control settings, lock/unlock, locate and utilise many other Volvo services from their wrist.
“Volvo On Call is an app that allows you to literally take control over everyday elements in your Volvo. You can set heater timings for those cold and frosty mornings or cool down your car in hot weather, check your fuel level and mileage, or time to next service. It even helps you to locate your car in a crowded parking garage,” explains David Holecek, Director Connected Products and Services at Volvo Cars.
Volvo On Call’s new functionality includes wearable connectivity for devices such as the Apple Watch, a full iPad user interface, Android Wear and a unified Windows Phone app with voice control through Cortana, an intelligent assistant system, amongst others. The update, which will also see the addition of enhanced ‘send-to-car’ capabilities for navigation purposes, is due to be released end of June.
Apart from adding new functionality, the Volvo On Call app has received a brand new design based on Volvo Cars’ celebrated Sensus driver interface in the new Volvo XC90.
Launched in 2001, Volvo On Call became one of the first car-based telematics systems in the world, providing both safety, security and tracking services in the car in case of accident, breakdown or theft using a car-installed SIM card. The system still provides the original safety functions – activated when the car’s airbags are deployed, or when the driver needs assistance, putting them in direct contact with a Volvo On Call operator, who, using GPS technology, can direct emergency services to the scene of the incident.
In recent years the application’s importance and geographic spread has increased exponentially, to include convenience features such as remote locking, fuel level indicators, find my car and remote locking on top of the leading safety and security services that it was originally launched to deliver.
“In only a few years we have moved from a safety and security related in-car feature to a solution that allows the driver to stay connected with their car and provides many new benefits to support their everyday requirements,” concluded Sofia Wessman, Manager Volvo On Call at Volvo Cars.
Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) was restored to the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on Wednesday, nearly six months to the day when the boat ran aground, setting off a story of team-work, determination and sheer hard work to return the crew to the start line in Lisbon (full story below).
- Team Vestas Wind defy the odds to rejoin the fleet
- Skipper Nicholson: Now we'll finish what we started
- Backers applaud team effort behind rebuild
- How Team Vestas Wind was put back together
LISBON, Portugal, May 27 – Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) was restored to the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on Wednesday, nearly six months to the day when the boat ran aground, setting off a story of team-work, determination and sheer hard work to return the crew to the start line in Lisbon.
Many experienced observers of the 41-year-old race had feared there was no way back for the Danish team in the race’s 12th edition when the Vestas Wind ran aground on the Cargados Carajos shoals in the Indian Ocean during Leg 2 on November 29.
The collision caused heartbreaking, extensive damage to the beautiful blue boat.
But the doubters would have underestimated the combined efforts of an expert team assembled by Vestas and race organisers, who have managed to rebuild the shattered Volvo Ocean 65 boat to the strict one-design demands of the race in four months – half the time it would normally take to build the boat.
The bulk of the work has been carried out by the Persico Marine boatyard in Bergamo, Italy.
On Saturday, May 22, the boat left the Persico yard and embarked on a land and sea journey to Lisbon, with the help of Maersk Line and GAC, where she arrived in the small hours of Wednesday morning, ahead of schedule.
In the final stages of her journey before arriving in the Portuguese capital, the boat was transported just over 50 kilometres by road, crossing the Vasco de Gama Bridge (the largest bridge in Europe) across the Tagus River.
Final preparations, including the reassembly of the keel and rig, are now underway. The team is preparing to return to the water for the first time on Saturday ahead of the long weekend of racing (June 4-7), which includes the Lisbon In-Port Race on June 6 and Leg 8 departure for Lorient, France, the following day.
“We’ve been waiting for this day to arrive for some time. It’s a testament to all involved in the rebuild to have the boat and team almost back in race mode,” said Team Vestas Wind’s Australian skipper, Chris Nicholson.
“It’s a true story of coming together to make things work, and we’re all motivated and in good shape to get back out on the water and finish what we started. These extra days’ preparations will help us become as competitive as we can be for the in-port and final legs of the Race.”
Commercial Director of Team Vestas Wind and Vice President of Global Marketing at Vestas, Mirella Vitale, added: “It’s a great achievement for Vestas and Team Vestas Wind to be where we are today.
“We’ve lived a different race than we originally envisioned, but we knew that our story could not end on that reef. We thank our fellow teams for their generosity and sportsmanship by providing seats for our guests on their boats while our boat was being repaired.“
Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, applauded all the combined efforts that have ensured Team Vestas Wind are back in business for the final legs to Lorient and then to Gothenburg, via a pit-stop in The Hague.
“It has been an incredible display of teamwork to return Vestas Wind to the start-line despite all the many obstacles along the way,” he said.
“Seeing Chris and the guys on the start-line for Leg 8 will be one of most memorable and proudest moments I have experienced in seven years as Race CEO,” he said.
Patrick Lammers, member of the retail board RWE, parent company of sub sponsor Powerhouse, added: "In order to be able to appear at the start in Lisbon, everyone involved has given their utmost.
“This was the ultimate race in a race, where no one thought of giving up. As a sponsor, Powerhouse could not have wished for a better team and partners. With this success, they truly carried out what we stand for.”
Lisbon lights up for flying Dutchmen
Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) completed a triumphant Leg 7 early on Wednesday to bolster their hopes of finishing with a podium place in the Volvo Ocean Race and also keep alive their hopes of overall victory (full story below, updating with full finishing positions).
- Team Brunel edge home ahead in transatlantic leg
- MAPFRE chase them all the way into Lisbon
- Team Alvimedica beat Dongfeng in thrilling dogfight
- Team Vestas Wind are reunited with rest of the fleet
LISBON, Portugal, May 27 – Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) completed a triumphant Leg 7 early on Wednesday to bolster their hopes of finishing with a podium place in the Volvo Ocean Race and also keep alive the possibility of overall victory.
The Dutch boat sailed a near faultless transatlantic stage, edging MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) into second, just under 22 minutes behind.
Behind them, Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) edged out long-time leg leaders, Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), after an enthralling dogfight over the final miles.
The Chinese-backed boat was caught by Enright's crew in the early hours of Wednesday, but battled their way back and looked sure to overtake them again before a botched tack ruined their chances.
They lost out by just 55 seconds after nearly nine days and 13 hours of sailing across 2,800 nautical miles (nm).
With overall leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) finishing fifth ahead of Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), the overall race standings are left finely poised.
The Emirati crew now have a five-point lead over Dongfeng Race Team with two short legs to sail, while Team Brunel are a point further adrift of Charles Caudrelier's crew.
Caudrelier made no attempt to hide his disappointment after leading the leg for so long and seeing a podium place disappear in the final miles.
"I'm feeling very bad, very upset and very sad," he summed up. "We deserved better, but I guess that's life.
"Most of all, I'm upset with myself because my crew did a great job and I made a huge mistake - and I don't accept mistakes. We really missed a chance in this leg with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing finishing fifth."
Few sailors in the fleet will savour a win over one of the race’s trademark legs more than Team Brunel’s 51-year-old skipper, Bouwe Bekking, in his record-equalling seventh appearance.
He has certainly experienced the ups and downs of racing across the Atlantic. Few will forget the agonising position he faced in 2006 before he was finally forced to abandon his sinking movistar boat during the same stage of that Volvo Ocean Race.
Bekking insisted last week that he had not lost ‘a single night’s sleep’ over the incident and the confident way that Team Brunel sailed the leg would bear that out.
Team Brunel were harried all the way over the past 24 hours by both MAPFRE and Dongfeng Race Team, especially over the final few miles when the breeze dropped to almost zero in the Tagus River as they approached the Lisbon finish.
"We sailed a tremendous leg but just at the end when there was no wind, it was getting a bit gnarly," said Bekking. "But we pulled it off."
The victory was achieved with two newcomers on board, Adam Minoprio (NZL) and Timo Hagoort (NED), the latter replacing the injured Gerd-Jan Poortman (NED).
"It was good to have those young guys on board, they did a fantastic job," added Bekking.
Team SCA crossed the line, some four hours and 22 minutes behind Team Brunel (see panel above), after an action-packed transatlantic leg in which they sailed within the pack for much of the nine days and at one stage threatened a podium finish after taking a bold strategic choice around the Azores High.
The final two stages, to Lorient (France) and then Gothenburg (Sweden) via a pit-stop in The Hague (Netherlands), will once again be contested by seven boats.
Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) rejoin the fleet for the first time since November 29 when the boat was grounded on a reef in the Indian Ocean.
After a four-month rebuild in the Persico boatyard in Bergamo, Italy, the boat was transported by sea and road to Lisbon, arriving a few hours before the rest of the fleet in the small hours of Wednesday morning.
Over the next few days, the rig will be stepped ahead of the Danish-backed team’s competitive comeback on June 6 in the Lisbon In-Port Race. Leg 8 to Lorient, a relative sprint at 647nm, begins a day later.
The race concludes on June 27 with the In-Port Race in Gothenburg after nine months and 38,739nm of sailing, visiting 11 ports and every continent.
Current latest standings (low points wins, In-Port Race Series splits ties): 1) Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 16 pts, 2) Dongfeng Race Team 21, 3) Team Brunel 22, 4) MAPFRE 26, 5) Team Alvimedica 27, 6) Team SCA 41, 7) Team Vestas Wind (Denmark) 52 (DNS).