Official: Volvo unveils all-new user interface destined for next-gen XC90 [w/video]

Filed under: Geneva Motor Show, Technology, Videos, Volvo, Infotainment

Volvo New User Interface

Take a close look at the cabin of the Volvo Concept Estate shown above. One of the big features on the fancy, brown shooting brake is an all-new user interface called, well, it doesn’t really have a name, at least not one Volvo is revealing.

The refreshingly nameless system looks seriously impressive based on the short video that accompany’s the system’s press release. The jewel of the whole interface is a sizable touchscreen that manages most every in-car function save for a few vital functions like volume, hazard lights and other systems that still demand a more tactile interface.

“The basic idea is to organize controls and information in a perfectly intuitive and user- friendly way. Everything is exactly where you expect it to be, making the drive more enjoyable, efficient, and safe,” Thomas Ingenlath, Volvo’s Senior Vice President of Design, said in a statement.

Infotainment design is one area where Volvo has struggled mightily in the past.

The system will consist of four “tiles,” covering information, navigation, media and phone functions. Above those tiles sits a notification band while climate control functions sit at the bottom of the screen. From the way the press release reads, it sounds sort of like the tiles will function in the same manner as an iPhone’s apps, with users able to swipe between tiles and tap individual tiles to “open” them, as well as pinch and zoom functionality as on most phone mapping apps.

“Information, navigation and media are high up and easy to keep an eye on. The phone controls, application icons and climate controls are located low, comfortable to reach and touch. Using the screen is so logical that it will be part of your muscle memory very quickly,” said Ingenlath.

It all sounds quite impressive on paper and the video we’ve attached below makes it seem like a promising addition to a car’s cabin. How it will actually function when it gets out in the real world, though, remains to be seen. We’ve heard many automakers tout these sorts of touchscreen systems, only to suffer at the ratings of initial quality and satisfaction surveys (we’re looking at you, MyFord Touch and Cadillac CUE). And we’d be remiss if we didn’t note that infotainment design is one area where Volvo has struggled mightily in the past, resorting to awkward solutions like wireless remote controls for navigation functions and hidden multi-way controllers on steering-wheel spokes. To this point, the Swedish automaker has clearly had trouble balancing its emphasis on safety with the advent of newer in-car technologies like navigation and phone integration.

In spite of all this, we’re looking forward to testing Volvo’s new infotainment approach when it makes its production debut on the next-generation XC90 crossover, slated to arrive later this year. In the near term, we’ll try to learn more about the system when see the new Concept Estate at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show next week. Take a look below for a short video on the system, as well as the press release from Volvo.

Continue reading Volvo unveils all-new user interface destined for next-gen XC90 [w/video]

Volvo unveils all-new user interface destined for next-gen XC90 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Feb 2014 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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