Volvo launching in-car music streaming

  • Volvo launches music streaming from 'net into car
  • Also connects to mapping, traffic info and weather
  • Can be retro-fitted to models built after 2011

We live in a consumerist society, expecting the latest information instantly, and that’s not something that stops in the car – especially when we spend so much time in it. But Volvo believes it has the answer with its new Sensus Connected Touch technology, which allows in-car access to a whole host of apps on the move.

Key to the maker’s announcement is news that users will be able to leave their CDs and iPods at home and stream music direct from Spotify to the car’s audio system. All that’s needed to take advantage of the new service is a separate 3G/4G dongle or an active mobile phone connection.

Although the central screen becomes touch sensitive, even with gloves on, the main benefit is the system’s voice-activation. Simply saying the name of your chosen track will have the speakers coming alive to the sound of that music. It can also be controlled by the centre-stack or steering-wheel mounted buttons, leaving drivers to concentrate on the road rather than the radio.

Talking of which the tie-up will also provide access to thousands of Internet radio stations from across the world, so there’s no excuse for simply ‘putting up’ with local commercial outfits. And it’s not just music-lovers that will benefit, the Android based system offering plenty of other apps; when parked up Sensus Connected Touch can access the Internet and you can mirror programs already established in your mobile phone’s library.

On the road Google Maps, online traffic information, parking and real-time weather information keep you on the straight and narrow while en-route to your final destination – the Roadtrip function will even raid Wikipedia and read aloud any interesting facts as you pass places of interest. Should a problem arise with the car, the Volvo service Locator ensures you find the correct place to have any faults diagnosed.

The WiFi signal can be shared throughout the car, so even car-pool passengers can check their email on the way to work. And the good news is that while the system goes on sale in May 2013, a number of models from 2011 can be retro-fitted with the system including the current V40, S60, V60, XC60, XC70 and S80.