The latest generation Volvo owners can now rejoice in the fact that they can now control their car using their voice! Yes, Volvo and Microsoft has announced a partnership that allows Volvo owners to ‘talk’ to the cars and prepare their vehicles according to their commands. And all it needs is a simple Microsoft Band 2 that retails at $249, and an On Call smart watch app integrated into the car’s infotainment console.
The Microsoft’s remote voice control for Volvo is still in a primitive phase that allows for simple preconditioning tasks such as turning on the engine, switching on the heater, turning on the lights, honking, unlocking, and other simple tasks. While this is in no way an advanced feature, Volvo and Microsoft should be commended for their efforts, as it is just the beginning of what this technology can achieve in the future.
The Remote Voice Control app will be launched during spring of 2016, and can only be used in modern generation Volvos with the latest infotainment systems. This is not the first time that Volvo and Microsoft have joined hands in the automotive sector, as the Swedish car manufacturer uses Microsoft’s HoloLens technology to display their cars to potential customers in a virtual environment. This allows Volvo to offer a great deal of options for buyers to optimize their vehicles and learn about the different features through detailed virtual interaction.
Volvo has always been at the forefront of vehicle safety and continuously equip their cars with the most advanced safety systems that guarantees the safety of both the vehicle’s occupants as well as pedestrians. Volvo has set forward highly ambitious plans for reducing the casualties of road accidents to zero by 2020 for those using a Volvo vehicle. Therefore, the remote voice control app may be considered as the first step towards vehicular interaction that can pave the way for advanced technologies that will help the driver and passengers to enjoy safe, smooth, and comfortable road travel.
What is interesting to note is that such a technology wasn’t adopted by the mainstream technology players such as Apple, Google, or Samsung. These large companies had the potential to incorporate such a technology due to their existing range of gear that include the Apple Watch, and Samsung Gear. However, Volvo has taken the right step by counting on the expertise and the technical prowess of Microsoft for creating a voice control app for infinite future possibilities.