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Volvo, Ericsson pair up for telematics and beyond

Swedish companies bring infotainment and other services to Volvo vehicles, and lay the groundwork for connected cars.

By Douglas Newcomb Dec 18, 2012 1:50PM

2012 Volvo S60. Photo by Volvo.Telematics systems like OnStar have proliferated over the past five years, and in the process, automakers have been aligning with technology and telecommunications companies. Chrysler has joined with Sprint for the Uconnect Access system available in the 2013 Ram pickup and Viper sports cars, for example.


Now Volvo has partnered with Ericsson, a wireless-communication technology provider and fellow Swedish company, to launch what’s called the Connected Vehicle Cloud. According to a press release from Ericsson, the system will “allow drivers, passengers and the car to connect to services available in the cloud.”


While the release was short on details, it noted that “drivers and passengers will be able to access applications for information, navigation and entertainment from a screen in the car.”

 

This sounds similar to existing cloud-connected telematics and infotainment systems such as Uconnect Access, Toyota Entune and BMW Assist. What’s not clear is whether the system will use an embedded cellular modem like Uconnect Access for connectivity, a driver’s smartphone like Toyota Entune or both like BMW Assist.

 

While Volvo and Ericsson could not be reached for comment, we were told earlier by a Volvo executive that the system will include the usual telematics services: automatic crash notification, emergency assistance and remote diagnostics, among others. Like other such systems, it also will come with a smartphone application that allows remotely controlling functions such as door locking and unlocking.

 

Ericsson also said that Volvo “will be able to open parts of the platform to other players in the ecosystem … like Internet radio providers,” which we’ve also seen with systems such as Toyota Entune and Ford Sync, including services like Pandora Internet radio and Stitcher.

 

What may make this system stand apart is that Ericsson said that “content providers will have agreements with Volvo and the other members of the ecosystem, like … road authorities, cities’ governments, toll-road operators and others.” Volvo has shown that it’s committed to connected cars and is already testing “road trains” in which vehicles travel in a tightly connected caravan.

 

So its partnership with Ericsson could extend way beyond traditional telematics and be a way to connect cars in a larger sense.

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