Volvo launches voice-activated in-car Spotify app

8 March 2013
By Sofia Mitra-Thakur
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The voice activated music system is integrated into the dashboard (credit Volvo)

The voice activated music system is integrated into the dashboard (credit Volvo)

Volvo and Spotify have teamed up to launch an integrated voice-controlled music system.

The new system, which is both voice-activated and touch-enabled, allows drivers to stream music with a 3G/4G dongle or via the driver's mobile phone connection through their dashboard.

Drivers will be able to play any track from the digital music service they want by saying its name, while its 7in display is a state-of-the-art infrared, beam-scanned touchscreen.

The new technology, which is integrated into the dashboard via Volvo's Sensus Connected Touch technology, was developed in response to demand from drivers for consumption of music on the road, Volvo said.

The company said it is easier and safer to use while driving, as drivers can access and operate the music system via the steering wheel and centre stack controls, without taking their eyes off the road or their hands off the steering wheel.

The system is based on Android technology, which allows it to be regularly upgraded. 

Other apps accessible via Sensus Connected Touch include Google maps, TuneIn, iGO navigation and an app store for new functions and updates.

Internet data can also be transferred via a Wi-Fi network, between the mobile phone and Sensus Connected Touch and the Wi-Fi network can be shared with everyone in the car when using a dongle.

Sensus is the name Volvo uses for all its HMI (Human Machine Interface) functionality and Sensus Connected Touch is a dealer-fitted accessory.

It goes on sale in May this year and can be fitted in all new Volvos as well as being retrofitted in some used cars built from 2011 onwards.

"The intuitive user interface, a very rapid browser response and the wide choice of around 20 functions and apps are benefits that make Sensus Connected Touch outstanding compared with our main competitors' solutions," said Håkan Hellman, product manager, Infotainment and Connectivity, Volvo.

The development of Sensus Connected Touch gained momentum late in 2011 when Volvo started sourcing a powerful hardware platform with first-class functional and graphical features and the capacity to handle future expansion.

The Sensus Connected Touch allows the user access to:

- Full Internet browsing (not available when driving), which allows Java, HTML 5, animations and moving pictures/films.

- Internet streaming of music including Spotify and Deezer.

- Internet radio (TuneIn and Live Radio) with thousands of channels from all over the world.

- On-line Google map and search.

- Embedded connected 3D navigation with online traffic info and dangerous zone warnings.

- Free parking locator and weather information.

- A number of native and web applications. Applications in the driver's mobile phone can be "mirrored" in the car's display when using the Parrot Smart Link App.

- Appstore for new functions & updates.

- A Volvo service locator.

"Roadtrip is another great feature that can read out Wikipedia information about interesting points along the route via the audio system," Hellman said.

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