Volvo plans to test self-driving cars in China using local drivers

Electric Vehicle (EV) technology is continuously evolving as automakers discover new ways to improve performance. Modern zero-emission transportation boasts advanced systems that control most of its features. Most manufacturers integrate first-party platforms to manage most of the functions, but Volvo plans to be the first to use Android Auto to enhance the experience. The upcoming all-electric XC40 will be the brand's first model to run the operating system independent of an Android smartphone.

Although the Swedish company advertises the new battery-powered SUV as the first to natively run Google's automotive program, another EV is apparently a step ahead. The PoleStar 2, announced earlier this year and launching in 2020, is reportedly the first model to use the OS on board. However, being a sub-brand of Volvo, the credit appears one and the same. Compared to the former emission-free ride, which is supposedly for a niche market, the XC40 is a familiar face among consumers, reports The Verge.

Most automobiles available right now that run on Android Auto still require an Android-powered smartphone to access certain features. In contrast, the new all-electric XC40 will no longer have its passengers take out their handsets to interact with specific features of the SUV's infotainment system. 9to5Google confirms Google Assistant is likewise available for hands-free voice command control. Apart from the AI assistant integration, owners can use the Play Store to download apps optimised for use with the OS.

Consequently, having Google Assistant operate directly on the XC40's system is an innovative approach. This seemingly allows the occupants to use voice commands to toggle climate control, entertainment and more. Another notable change is Volvo redesigning the interface to resemble its Sensus Connect infotainment platform. For those wondering about compatibility with Apple's ecosystem. The EV will support iOS devices and Apple CarPlay.

In addition to Android Auto running the show on the all-electric Volvo XC40, the manufacturer is boasting about the improved legroom and bigger space for cargo. Since it is trading the traditional combustion engine for electric motors and batteries, the designers added a front-mounted trunk to hold even more than its conventional model. More details about the SUV will be available once it debuts next week.

LA Auto Show 2017
Volvo XC40 SUV Lucy Nicholson/Reuters