When Volvo first announced the new XC90 it promised to tease us with snippets of information over a period of weeks leading towards the grand external reveal. Today is another of those days and it brings good news on the in-car tech front; both Apple CarPlay and integrated HERE technology has been confirmed.
The large touchscreen we've already seen has also been explained in a little more detail. In short it replaces the usual array of buttons and dials often found on a cars centre console, instead moving them all to the touchscreen. The user interface is linked between this, the instrument cluster on the dash and the head-up display with the goal to be keeping the drivers eyes on the road as much as possible. The interface on the main display is described as a stack of flexible tiles, each with a different functionality. When you tap on a tile to expand it, the others compress but all remain visible on the display at all times.
As standard the XC90 will provide apps and connectivity via Ericsson cloud services and HERE navigation. The system – known as Sensus – offers a variety of built in applications and cloud services such as restaurant bookings, music streaming and even a connected service booking system where the car will tell you it's time to visit the garage and suggest local booking slots for you.
HERE provides more than just maps and navigation, though. While it does power those, HERE APIs are also in place to assist other on-board applications. For example, Stitcher Radio will use the HERE Geolocation API to suggest relevant, local radio stations. The HERE Places API will power local search and the very first, embedded Park&Pay application to find and pay for car parking without ever getting out of the car.
Volvo isn't done there, either. While all the goodies mentioned above are built into the standard system, the new XC90 is also the first car from the Swedish maker that comes with Apple CarPlay integration. And with that fantastic looking touchscreen to use it on, iPhone owners will be right at home with their apps and services such as Siri activated voice calling and messaging, even foregoing the built in HERE navigation for Apple Maps if they so wish.
There's much still to learn about the new XC90 as a whole, but the meat of the in-car technology is now out in the open. It's shaping up to be quite a car and the public will be able to see it for themselves at the Paris Motor Show this October, before it hits the roads in Europe in early 2015.
So what so we think? Volvo sure hasn't been tight with the tech, and with all that built in would you even need to leverage CarPlay for a great experience?