Volvo Roadside Assistance Uses Real-Time Info

The US division of Swedish car manufacturer Volvo has introduced its next generation of roadside assistance technology designed to improve response time to drivers in need of help.

The company has deployed advanced tracking technology to help drivers pinpoint where help is in real time, and Volvo customers will also have access to a ride-sharing-style interface where they can track approaching roadside assistance vehicles.

This real-time information is also shared with Volvo Customer Care agents who will guide drivers through the process — the company said the New Jersey-based customer care team will be available round the clock every day.

The two services, Next Generation Roadside Assistance and the 24/7 Volvo Concierge Customer Care, officially debuted on June 1, the company said.

The automaker’s new roadside assistance technology complements a growing ecosystem of connected car technologies introduced by Volvo, including valet service, fuel delivery and in-car delivery.

“Real time tracking will allow customers to know exactly when help will arrive and whom to expect,” Bill Casey, Volvo Car USA’s director of customer care and dealer support, wrote in a statement. “It will dramatically cut down on the response time, setting a new benchmark in the industry.”

The new assistance technology recalls the upgrade Daimler made to its Mercedes vehicles in March, which offers an emergency call function that is able to notify the rescue services automatically after a crash.

The Daimler technology supplies rescue services with the vehicle’s exact GPS position and other information, including the identified number of people in the vehicle — determined by the number of locked seat belts — and the vehicle’s direction of travel.

Volvo already offers highly connected cars through its Sensus Connect platform, boasting built-in USB and auxiliary connectors, plus wireless connectivity through Bluetooth and broadband technology.

In addition, the Volvo On Call app givers drivers have access to complimentary emergency support and automatic collision alert features spanning the lifetime of the vehicle.

When drivers purchase a 2018 Volvo, the On Call app provides four years of complimentary access to remote climatization, concierge services, the Volvo driving journal, mobile remote lock and unlock, mobile car sharing and theft alert, as well as a car-finding feature.

In May, Volvo announced it is working with Google to embed the voice-controlled Google Assistant, Google Play Store, Google Maps and other Google services into Sensus, which is based on Android.

The assistant feature provides a central voice interface for the car that allows drivers to control in-car functions such as air conditioning, and use apps to play music and send messages.

Meanwhile, Google Maps will allow Sensus to provide refreshed map and traffic data in real time, offering different routes based on current information.

The company has also teamed up with online retail giant Amazon to bring in-car delivery of packages to customers in the US — a scaling-up and maturing of Volvo’s digital consumer services through the On Call smartphone app.

Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter @dropdeaded209.

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