Volvo has unveiled a new virtual assistant in the form of a free mobile phone app, compatible with both the iPhone and Google's Android operating system.
The app has been designed to keep owners connected with their vehicle at all times, allowing them to monitor the vehicle's position and condition.
"Creating an intuitive and ergonomically optimised driver's environment is part of our aim to offer a feeling of relaxed control," Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby said.
"It is only logical that you should feel in command of your vehicle also after you have parked it."
For European-market Volvo cars fitted with the latest generation of the 'Volvo On Call' system, the app also allows owners to remotely check the vehicle's operational status - and even turn the heating on before returning to the car.
Other features include:
- Car locator: enables the location of the car to be shown on a map. There is also a digital compass that points the driver in the right direction. If necessary, the car horn and indicators can be activated to facilitate the search.
- Remote door lock: This shows the status of all doors and windows - and the driver can lock and unlock the car with a push on the touch screen.
- Remote heater start: puts an end to getting into a cold car on a cold night. If the car is equipped with a parking heater, it can be started or timer programmed via the mobile app.
- Vehicle dashboard: gives the driver access to a wide range of information: fuel level, remaining range to empty tank, average fuel consumption, average speed, odometer reading and trip meter reading.
- Car check: This app performs a "health" check of the car, displaying information about bulbs, brake fluid level, coolant level, engine oil level and engine oil pressure.
- Driving journal: Detailed data of each trip during the last 40 days can be downloaded and stored. There is also a possibility to extract the data as an Excel file - a perfect feature for company car owners.
- Vehicle information: Basic car data such as model, registration number and VIN number are stored and can be displayed.Theft notification: If the car alarm is triggered, the driver is alerted via the mobile app.
For now, Volvo On Call - and the new mobile app - is available in Europe only. Speaking to TMR today however, Volvo Australia's Jaedene Hudson said that customer feedback could be the difference in deciding on a local launch.
"The infrastructure in Australia was previously unable to support Volvo On Call – the system on which the Smartphone app is based," Ms Hudson said.
"However, that is changing, so if there is demand for it from our customers in the future it would be something that we would look at."
So if you want the Volvo On Call system in your next Volvo, you'll need to get in the ear of your local dealership.