Forgot your Volvo key? There’s an app for that

Volvo Cars digital key

Volvo Cars digital key

BY GERRY MILES

No one likes being locked out of their home or their car. And we realize that the key we misplaced is where it shouldn’t be as soon as we hear the lock click or pull the front door shut and securely behind us.

For 2017, Volvo has stakes claims to be the world’s first car manufacturer to offer cars without keys from 2017.

Volvo customers can download an app on their smart phones that will interact via Bluetooth technology, offering more flexibility and connectivity to their car through the doors, trunk, or starting the engine.

Customers can also store more than one digital key on their app, allowing them to access different Volvo cars in different locations, if it’s required.

Volvo Cars digital key

Volvo Cars digital key

Using the app people could potentially book and pay for a rental car anywhere in the world and have the digital car key delivered to their phone immediately. On arrival a customer could simply locate the rental car via GPS, unlock it and drive away, avoiding those frustrating queues at airport or train station car rental desks.

Are you lending your car to someone? You can send your car’s digital key to that friend’s mobile phone to allow access.

“At Volvo we are not interested in technology for the sake of technology. New technology has to make our customers’ lives easier and save them time. Mobility needs are evolving and so are our customers’ expectation to access cars in an uncomplicated way,” said Henrik Green, Vice President Product Strategy & Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars. “Our innovative digital key technology has the potential to completely change how a Volvo can be accessed and shared. Instead of sitting idle in a parking lot the entire day, cars could be used more often and efficiently by whoever the owner wishes.”

Volvo will pilot this technology in spring 2016 via its car sharing firm Sunfleet, stationed at Gothenburg airport, Sweden. A limited number of commercially available cars will be equipped with the new digital key technology in 2017.

“There are obviously many permutations when it comes to how this shared key technology can be used,” added Martin Rosenqvist, New Car Director, Special Products at Volvo Cars. “We look forward to seeing how else this technology might be used in the future and we welcome any and all ideas.”

Volvo is a pioneer with new digital key solutions. In 2015 the Swedish premium carmaker launched the world’s first commercial offer to have online shopping delivered directly to the car, by providing a one-time digital key to a delivery company. Now the digital key technology will also be made available for customers.

Physical keys will continue to be offered for people who want them.

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First edition of XC90 sells out in 47 hours

All new Volvo XC90
All new Volvo XC90

 BY GERRY MILES

 It appears the wait was worth it.
After waiting through a bunch of mundane updates,  Volvo and Geely seem to hit pavement in full stride.
The First Edition of the all-new VolvoXC90, 1,927 individually numbered cars only available for sale via digital commerce, sold out in 47 hours after it was released. Volvo proclaims that most of the cars were reserved within one hour from sales start. At its peak, 7 cars were sold every minute. The U.S. is the number one market for theXC90, and was also the number one market for First Edition sales.

 “We are very pleased, but not really surprised,” said Alain Visser, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Customer Service of Volvo Car Group. “The huge interest in the XC90 escalated to astronomical levels after the world premiere last week.”

 The First Edition cars, which celebrate the year Volvo was founded, were for the first time in history only available at www.volvocars.com.

Volvo’s new system sees and senses what you’re not

VolvoDriverSensor

 BY GERRY MILES

We’ve got systems that detect the car leaving a lane, what’s behind us, and even what’s perhaps along side us if you’re driving a Honda and get the right-lane screen to illuminate. And we’re all perhaps a tad worried that Big Brother has, or is, scanning or smartphone info as well.

Now, the rolling system for safety systems, Volvo cars has a technology that detects what what the driver is looking at or whether he or she has closed eyes.

“This will enable the driver to rely a bit more on their car, and know that it will help them when needed,” explains Per Landfors, engineer at Volvo Cars and project leader for driver support functions.

 Volvodriversense3

By placing a sensor on the dashboard to monitor aspects such as the direction in which a drivers are looking, how open their eyes are, as well as their head position and angle, it’s possible to develop precise safety systems that detect driver alertness and are able to adjust the car accordingly.

Imagine how this could work for folks, especially teens, looking down at phones to check messages or text someone.

This means the car does not stray out of the lane or get too close to the car in front when the driver is not paying attention.

Sensor for Driver State EstimationSince the car can detect if a driver is not paying attention, safety systems can be adapted more effectively. For example, the car’s support systems can be activated later on if the driver is focused, and earlier if the driver’s attention is directed elsewhere,” Landfors explains.

 Some of the current systems that can be included are Lane Keeping Aid, Collision warning with full auto brake and Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist.

 The technology is based on a sensor mounted on the dashboard in front of the driver. Small LEDs illuminate the driver with infrared light, which is then monitored by the sensor. Infrared light is just outside the wavelengths that the human eye can see; that means the driver doesn’t notice the light at all and benefits from the safety aspect.

Volvodriversense2 Sensors, Volvo notes, could also be used to identify the driver by different points on the face and accordingly, adjust the seat settings or adjust the interior lights as well as the driving lights just from the direction that the person is looking.

None of this Jack Bauer-like technowizardy is stored anywhere in the car, the clouds or at Volvo at any time.

“The car doesn’t save any pictures and nor does it have a driver surveillance function,” Landfors said.

 The technology is already installed in test vehicles. Volvo Cars is also conducting research together with partners including Chalmers University of Technology and Volvo AB to identify effective methods for detecting tiredness and inattention.

 The analysis of the driver’s state, known as driver state estimation, in which driver sensors play an important role, is a field that may be key to self-driving cars in the future. The car will need to be able to determine whether the driver is capable of taking control when the conditions for driving autonomously are no longer present. A driver sensor could be of assistance in this.

Volvo Car Group Celebrates 50 years of Dedication to Child Safety

BY GERRY MILES

It’s an analogy that’s as envious as Golden Arches and the hamburger: Safety and Volvo.

This year makes the 50th anniversary of the once-Swedish firm’s historical work with the world’s first rear-facing child seat prototype in a PV544 back in 1964. The latest innovation is an Inflatable Child Seat Concept that is easily tucked away in a small bag when not in use.

The differences in anatomy between children and adults form the foundation for Volvo Cars’ child safety developments both in terms of car integrated features and accessories. Children are not small versions of adults, which is why children need special restraints when travelling in cars.

Volvo XC70 interior (2007)

“The basic principle remains the same as 50 years ago. The smallest children must always travel facing the rear until the age of 3 or 4. Older children should use a booster cushion or booster seat that makes sure that the lap belt is correctly fitted over the pelvis,” says Professor Lotta Jakobsson, senior technical specialist at Volvo Cars Safety Center.

Here are some of the most important milestones in Volvo Cars’ child safety history:

First rearward facing child safety seat prototype tested in a Volvo (PV 444)

First rearward facing child safety seat prototype tested in a Volvo (PV 444)

1964    First child seat prototype

Inspired by how astronauts travel rearwards, Bertil Aldman, medical doctor and subsequently professor in traffic safety at Chalmers University of Technology, developed the very first child seat prototype. Volvo was closely involved in the development and testing was carried out in a PV544.

1967    Reversible front passenger seat with special child backrest

The first child seat to be sold to customers was created by turning the front passenger seat around. Adding a padded backrest with straps made sure that the rearward-facing child was kept in place. The solution was sold as an accessory for the recently introduced Volvo Amazon.

1972    Volvo’s first rear-facing child seat

Rearward-facing child seats are designed to support the neck and help spread the force of a frontal impact over a larger area. Frontal impacts are the most frequent and usually the most severe impact situation.

1976    The booster cushion – a world first from Volvo

Children from 3 or 4 years and up travel facing forward using the standard safety belt with a belt-positioning booster cushion. Volvo Cars’ policy is that children should use a booster cushion until they are 140 centimeters tall and 10 years old. When using a booster cushion, the child runs about a 75 percent lower risk of being injured compared to being unrestrained.

1990    World’s first integrated booster cushion

The first integrated booster cushion was an ingenious fold down and out version in the rear center position in the Volvo 960. Double integrated pop-up booster cushions in the outer rear seats were introduced in the Volvo S40 in 1995.

1999    World’s first rear-facing seat for ISOFIX

The world-first solution for the standardized, car-integrated ISOFIX fittings was actually two rearward-facing seats in one. Both seats – one for infants and one for toddlers up to four years of age – could be fitted in the same ISOFIX frame.

2007    World’s first two-stage integrated booster cushion

Two-stage integrated booster cushions were introduced in the Volvo V70 estate. The two-stage version, with two sitting heights, enables a better belt fit regardless of the child’s size. Child adapted safety belt load limiters were also fitted.

2014    Inflatable Child Seat Concept

The innovation, which is still in the development stage, is easy to install and can be tucked away in a small bag when not in use. This means that the child seat can be easily transferred between cars and the bag even fits in carry-on luggage when flying or travelling.

Volvo comes to its Sensus, adds cloud connectivity

Volvo Connectivity

BY GERRY MILES

I’m willing to give Volvo a pass because there’s been so many changes and the’ve told us there’s a lot in the pipeline for the future. That’s good news.

Add to its modernization is its connectivity package called Sensus Connect, which is really  an updated on-board infotainment and navigation solution in the cloud. 

Updated Sensus Connect will be available in all new Volvo models starting in May. Drivers who already have Sensus Connect in their cars will be offered updates.

The cloud-based services allow drivers to find and pay for parking from their car, discover new restaurants at their destination, stream their favorite music seamlessly and much more. Sensus Connect also offers the first-ever solution utilizing built-in connectivity supported by Pandora Internet Radio.

The brand new in-car experience includes a novel take on all aspects of traveling. Tens of thousands of radio stations can now be enjoyed in a car that is pre-heated or pre-cooled every time the customer wants to go for a drive, made possible by the remote start function on their mobile phone.

The navigation system enables drivers to set destinations through their mobile device, search information through Wikipedia or find and pay for parking via Park&Pay – the world-first integrated solution for finding and paying for parking from within your car.

Underscoring its foundation of safety, Volvo said it partnered with the best in their field to complement the ride and provide a safe ride. Partners are:cEricsson, Pandora, HERE, Yelp, Glympse and parking service providers.

Sensus Connect will allow Volvo drivers to stream Pandora via a data connection provided by the built-in modem or their smartphone. 

The 2014 Volvo Sensus solutions will include the following features among others:

ENTERTAINMENT

  • Pandora – Internet radio
  • 100,000 global radio stations through TuneIn
  • Rdio – streaming music service
  • Stitcher – on-demand radio shows and podcasts
  • Regional audiobook solutions

NAVIGATION

  • Upgraded navigation system with 3D graphics and lifetime map upgrades
  • Park&Pay by Parkopedia – find available parking and pay for it from your car
  • Yelp – find local services, e.g., restaurants with reviews
  • Glympse – dynamic, temporary location sharing
  • HERE by Nokia – cloud connected services to provide seamless and connected navigation to drivers
  • Send to Car – find your destination on your phone and send it to your car’s navigation system
  • Wikipedia – enriched local points-of-interest information
  • Baidu – local search for the Chinese market

INTERFACE

  • Refreshed HMI with graphically themed center and driver displays
  • Voice control and text-to-speech

CONNECTIVITY

  • Integrated rooftop antenna and embedded 3G modem
  • WiFi hotspot in the car
  • Smartphone tethering (WiFi and Bluetooth)
  • Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free calling

SERVICES

  • Smartphone app – connecting your phone to your car
  • Engine remote start – app-controlled heating and cooling of the car
  • Connected service booking – car knows when service is due and will pre-book itself for a convenient service appointment at Volvo dealership.

XC Concept Coupe shows Volvo’s vision

Volvo XC Concept Coupe

Volvo XC Concept Coupe

BY GERRY MILES

Finally there’s some interesting news at Volvo.

The company released pictures and more on its XC Concept Coupe that will be built upon its SPA or Scalable Product Architecture.

For a company that used to have fenders that doubled as a T-Square and never had a curvaceous style until its dared to built the C70 retractable convertible it’s almost impossible to now find a flat spot anywhere on a Volvo. They’re as curvy as Sofia Vergara. OK, you get the idea.

With 21-inch wheels that bulge under extremely arched fender wells, this 2-door, four-seat Volvo Concept XC Coupé is similar to its cousin the Concept Coupe.

Whether it’s a Coupe or a SUV wannabe crossover is part of the appeal and notes will likely be taken at auto shows to gauge reactions. The SUV appeal is drawn from the side moldings and skid plates.

Volvo XC Concept Coupe

Volvo XC Concept Coupe

New T-shaped DRL lights accent a much different shape as does its “floating grille” and the rear light signature.

Volvo’s XC Cross Country spawned a different way to look at cars when it arrived back in 1997. It blended the utility of an SUV with true car ride and economy. That’s something that Subaru also found out with its famed Outback as it conquered former SUV owners who loved the style, but over time grew tired of the truck-based ride and economy.

Volvo expanded its XC range up to its SUVs and runs across the line with the Volvo V40 Cross Country, via the XC60 and XC70, to the XC90.

Volvo XC Concept Coupe

Volvo XC Concept Coupe

Volvo’s S60, V60 Polestar ready for world debut in 2014

2014 Volvo V60, S60 Polestar

2014 Volvo V60, S60 Polestar 

BY GERRY MILES

Finally Volvo has something to get excited about.

After a slow year or so, and finally securing finances from Geely, Volvo Cars of North American announced that the S60 and V60 Polestars are set for their world debut in Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. Additional markets and sales goals, as they say in the industry, will be released later.

The key features of the Polestars are their ability to scoot up to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and have a top speed of 155 mph. 0 km/h in 4.9 seconds for these limited edition vehicles. Delivery is expected to begin in June 2014.

“We are proud to present the S60 and V60 Polestar. A car developed for those who share our passion at Polestar: That driving really matters and that a true driver’s car should enable you to enjoy driving all year, on all roads and in all weather conditions. This is a driver’s car for real life,” said Christian Dahl, CEO of Polestar.

Polestar V60

“With the introduction of the V60 model, we are proud to continue the heritage of fast Volvo wagons, such as the racing 850 BTCC, a tradition deeply rooted among Volvo enthusiasts,” continued Christian Dahl, CEO of Polestar.

“Our motorsport cooperation with Polestar has been going on for almost two decades and it is rewarding to see how Polestar can use their experiences from motorsport to engineer such an exciting and competent car,” said Derek Crabb, Motorsport Director at Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars).

“It is very satisfying to see how Polestar has been able to combine this level of driving performance in their interpretation of the S60 and V60 with maintained original service program, class leading safety features and certified fuel and emission ratings. Customers buying this car will get the best from both Polestar and Volvo,” said Alain Visser, Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales & Customer Service at Volvo Cars.

The car is based on the latest generation Volvo S/V60 and marks the start of an extended Polestar production model range. Development of the car has been ongoing during the past years, picking up from the C30 and S60 Concept cars and the Australian S60 Polestar. Thousands of development miles have been driven on twisty mountain roads, on the Autobahn and test tracks from the south of Europe to the frozen north of Sweden.

Polestar performance engineering

Chassis

Upgrades include modifications made to increase rigidity of the chassis to cater for the 80 percent stiffer springs relative to the standard S60 R-Design. These changes, combined with the tailored high-performance Öhlins shock absorbers and 20-inch Polestar wheels, result in a precise, yet comfortable, driving experience.

Brakes

The brake system has undergone substantial modifications. Most visible are the 371 millimeter ventilated front discs and six-piston Brembo calipers, guaranteeing a high level of braking performance.

Aerodynamics

To reflect the increased performance of the S/V60 Polestar, positive aerodynamic effects have been achieved through subtle, yet efficient, modifications based on data from tests in the Volvo Cars wind tunnel. The changes are visible with the front splitters, optimizing the airflow underneath the car, as well as a new rear spoiler and diffusor, increasing down force.

Engine

The six-cylinder, turbocharged T6 engine has undergone extensive development with a new twin-scroll turbo and intercooler to produce 350 hp at 5700 rpm and 369 lbs.-feet already at 2800 rpm. The engine breathes through a 2.5-inch stainless steel exhaust system, making for a throaty engine note.

Transmission

The six-speed automatic gearbox features a new paddle shift system that together with the Polestar-developed, Haldex four-wheel drive system takes the car from 0-100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds and to a limited top speed of 155 mph. The gearbox as well as the four-wheel drive system and traction control system has been recalibrated to provide an active driving experience and maximum grip in all situations.

Interior

Volvo Polestar Interior

Volvo Polestar Interior

The interior has been reworked with new details, materials and Polestar colors, such as the steering wheel, seats and more, with the sole purpose of increasing driver support and control.

“All in all, we have taken a major step forward in all areas, from chassis and engine to interior and exterior details. Development work has been focused on the overall package in order to create a car that you want to use every day, both from a practical and emotional perspective,” said Henrik Fries, S/V60 Polestar Technical Project Manager.

“We are all very excited and proud over our launch of two new cars as yet another step toward a range of Polestar engineered Volvo cars available for people like us around the world. To do it together with Volvo, one of the world’s leading car manufacturers, is greatly satisfying and we look forward to an exciting future,” said Christian Dahl, CEO of Polestar.

Volvo-polestarsVisit http://www.nextpolestar.com for more information.

Technical Specification

Performance

0-100 km/h 4.9 sec

0-200 km/h 17.7 sec

80-120 km/h 4.7 sec

Top speed 250 km/h / 155 mph – Electronically limited

Chassis

Polestar Öhlins shock absorber system

Polestar bespoke rims, 8×20” ET53 with 245/35R20 tires

Engine

6-cylinder inline T6 engine, 2953 cc

257 kW (350 hp) @ 5700 rpm

500 Nm (369 lbs.-feet) @ 2800-4750 rpm

Max 6500 rpm

New twin-scroll Borg Warner turbo

New intercooler

Polestar 2.5 inch stainless full-flow exhaust system with twin 3.5 inch tail pipes

Weight

S60 Polestar: 1752 kg

V60 Polestar: 1822 kg

Transmission

AWF21 automatic gearbox with paddle shift system

Polestar transmission calibration for faster gearshifts, launch control and curve-hold functionality

Polestar Haldex calibration for more rear torque dynamic distribution

Polestar calibrated stability control system

Brakes

Front: Polestar/Brembo 6 piston brake calipers

371×32 mm ventilated and floating Brembo discs

Rear: 302×22 mm ventilated disc