Google and Apple’s foray into the car space does not worry Volvo’s chief information officer, who “feels confident we have a very strong strategy moving forward."
As Volvo announced its most connected car to date, the X90, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, its chief information officer Klas Bendrik spoke to Techworld about whether Apple and Google were a true threat.
He said: “What the telco industry has achieved is impacting many different industries including the automotive industry. As long as we, at Volvo, are being progressive and offering the best type of solutions to our customer base on the services and products we have, then we are confident we have a very strong strategy moving forward.”
While Google and, allegedly, Apple have hired a team of driving experts to help them bring an autonomous car to market, carmakers like Volvo are focusing on technologies that can improve safety and the driving experience for drivers in 2015.
Using the Volvo Cloud, a platform hosted by telco Ericsson, Volvo is already piloting semi autonomous technologies like ice detection on the road.
The project in Sweden will see cloud connected cars use sensors to detect when a wheel hits black ice. In the event of a slippery road, the car sends its GPS location to the Volvo platform, which is in turn sent to nearby Volvo vehicles (and perhaps other car brands in the future), as well as relevant road authorities.
It is hoped the technology will be publicly available in Volvo models by the end of 2016.
Google, who announced its self-driving car project in 2013, originally set itself the target of 2017 to get a driverless car to market. But the tech giant has been mysteriously quiet about its progress as of late.
The rumour mill has been going into overdrive over Apple, which, Bloomberg revealed, will be bringing its car to the public by 2020, according to, "people familiar with the matter."
Volvo however, is two years into its autonomous car project, and is on schedule to put self-driving cars on Gothenburg’s roads in the next two years, Bendrik told Techworld.
He said: “We are putting 100 drivers on normal streets of Gothenburg, driven by normal people as part of the infrastructure in the city. Our approach to autonomous driving is about integrating both our customers, our vehicles and our products into the normal infrastructure of a city”.
Technology in the car industry - develop in house or outsource?
Bendrik told Techworld that the carmaker is using both in-house development as well as technology from its external partners to produce its connected, and eventually driverless car features.
The X90, which features a brand new HMI touchscreen, has been developed similarly to traditional car manufacturing methods with a hybrid approach, utilising Volvo’s partners as well as its dedicated technology team.
He said: “Working in a modern economy, Volvo Cars sees clear benefits of having very good knowledge in house but also leveraging the skills set of various partners that will vary over time.”