Who hasn’t talked to their car, at least when they’re safely alone in it? Now Volvo wants to make your car listen when you talk to it. The carmaker announced late last year that it is working in partnership with Microsoft on developing the first remote voice control system for a production vehicle.
With the new system, Volvo drivers will be able to give verbal instructions for the car to their Volvo on Call mobile app using their connected Microsoft Band 2, a wearable smartwatch developed by the tech giant. Among the instructions it will be possible to deliver to the car: Locking the doors, starting the heater, honking the horn, flashing the lights, and setting the navigation system.
The joint Volvo-Microsoft project represents the first automotive application of HoloLens technology, which uses an untethered holographic computer to create interactive, high-definition holograms for different real-world applications.
Volvo sees the introduction of remote voice control as merely a first step in a coming revolution of new technologies that it hopes will transform the car buying, ownership and driving experience in the years to come. Explains Thomas M. Müller, Vice-President of Electrics/Electronics & Chassis at Volvo Group, “With voice control we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible with digital assistant functionalities.”
The application is expected to be available to consumers in Volvo on Call-enabled markets starting in spring 2016.