Volvo, Ericsson Ink New Five-Year Deal on Connected Car Services

Volvo has tapped Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson to provide digital vehicle services in its vehicles across more than 120 markets worldwide for the next five years.

The Connected Vehicle Cloud (CVC) platform is based on Ericsson’s multiservice delivery platform to provide infotainment, applications and communication services in Volvo vehicles. The announcement is continuation of a previous agreement between the two companies.

The platform allows drivers and passengers to access cloud-enabled services and applications, as well as managed services, consulting and systems integration, all provided by Ericsson.

“We are now looking to the era of software-defined vehicles. It’s not defined by the gearbox or the engine, it’s defined by how software is made,” Claes Herlitz, head of automotive and transport for Ericsson, told TU-Automotive. “As a consumer, you will expect the vehicle not only to be autonomous but also a media spot for infotainment — music of course but also video and collaboration.”

Herlitz explained a number of consumers are now looking for connected safety applications, as well as comfort and convenience features like Volvo’s remote heater start, which he called a “breakthrough” moment for Volvo’s connected car development.

“Consumers want to not only know their surroundings, but they want to know these cars are safe to drive in a bigger context, and that leads to connected care features like unexpected lane departure warnings and emergency braking services,” he said.

He also noted providing a seamless, user-friendly experience for the consumer — one which matches the image of a high-end brand like Volvo — will be critical to any successful connected car platform.

“Once you step into a vehicle you want to have an integrated service experience,” Herlitz said. “It’s extremely important that the availability corresponds to the brand. You don’t want to have a low-end experience on the connected side of the vehicle.”

The deal is the largest to date for Ericsson’s CVC platform, which is delivered through several geographically distributed centers.

The partnership calls for Ericsson to perform systems integration of the solution with back-end IT environments of Volvo Cars and in-vehicle systems.

In a company release, Ericsson noted the platform takes account of legal, security, and privacy obligations on a global scale, such as compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Drivers and passengers will be able to access applications for information, navigation and entertainment from a screen in the car. At the same time, Volvo Cars will be able to open parts of the platform to other players in the ecosystem of the automotive industry.

Content providers will have agreements with Volvo and the other members of the ecosystem, such as Internet radio providers, road authorities, cities’ governments, toll-road operators and others.

Volvo Cars currently offers in-car service and maintenance scheduling, as well as a digital key that allows secure, remote, one-time access to the car, for whoever needs it.

The next stage in this evolution is going beyond connected services as add-ons to the car, to over-the-air (OTA) updates for powertrain capabilities and safety features.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter.


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