Volvo Sensus Connect 2014 update

To borrow a line from another automaker, the Volvo S60 has the power to surprise – it's likely not top of mind for most entry-level luxury sedan buyers, but it's good enough that it probably should be. There's long been one pretty serious chink in its armor, though, and that goes for the company's entire model line: infotainment. The Swedish marque's offerings just haven't been that feature-rich, but Volvo is working to improve things with its updated Sensus Connect, a suite of functions just launched at this week's CES in Las Vegas.

The new system updates center on cloud-based connectivity advancements that include a novel Park&Pay feature that allows drivers to search for parking and pay for their space from the comfort of their car. Other functions that show off the diversity of Sensus Connect include embedded, Pandora-streaming internet radio, Wikipedia, remote start via smart phone, dealer appointment booking, destination attraction searches and an available wifi hotspot.

All of this increased functionality sounds like a big step in the right direction, and Volvo is noting it has refreshed the system's interface with "graphically themed center and driver displays" along with improved voice control and text-to-speech capabilities.

Despite all of these enhancements, we still see Volvo having some way to go in creating a top-flight navigation and infotainment suite. The Sensus control scheme has always taken a bit of getting used to, and its seven-inch screen is starting to look a bit small. Perhaps these issues will be addressed with the forthcoming all-new XC90 crossover and subsequent models, but until then, these Sensus Connect updates should help close the gap with competitors. You can expect to see the new system in all new Volvos this May, with existing Sensus Connect owners able to get an upgrade. For now, scroll down to view a couple of videos and view the press release.
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Volvo Cars' Cloud Solution Offers Total Connectivity

ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (Jan. 7, 2014) - With the launch of Sensus Connect, Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars) reveals an updated on-board infotainment and navigation solution. Now, Volvo Cars truly offers customers a fully connected experience. The cloud-based services allow drivers to find and pay for parking from their car, discover new restaurants at their destination, stream their favorite music seamlessly and much more. Sensus Connect also offers the first-ever solution utilizing built-in connectivity supported by Pandora Internet Radio.

"Technology should make your life easier. That's why we listened carefully to our customers when creating Sensus Connect. It's not about offering a thousand apps; it's about giving you precisely what you need, before you even knew you needed it," says David Holecek, connectivity brand manager at Volvo Cars.

The brand new in-car experience includes a novel take on all aspects of traveling. Tens of thousands of radio stations can now be enjoyed in a car that is pre-heated or pre-cooled every time the customer wants to go for a drive, made possible by the remote start function on their mobile phone. The navigation system enables drivers to set destinations through their mobile device, get exciting information about their surroundings through Wikipedia and also lets them find and pay for parking at their destination. Park&Pay is the world-first integrated solution for finding and paying for parking from within your car. This application is based on car2infrastructure communication and points the way of new possibilities when the car starts to "communicate" with its surroundings.

Volvo Cars is one of few car manufacturers that strategically invests and partners in cloud-based solutions. The Volvo solution offers a branded look and feel and the possibility to remotely update content through the air and over time.

"It's all about giving everyone an enjoyable, easy-to-use and intuitive experience. There is no point in filling a car with technology if it comes off as overwhelming, so our main focus is always to give our customers the best experience available and make it easy to digest. Our cloud-based apps update seamlessly. Sensus offers the optimal combination of input/output methods and allows drivers to turn the entire car into a Wi-Fi hotspot for all of their connected devices," says Holecek.

By choosing partners who are the very best in their individual fields, such as Ericsson, Pandora, HERE, Yelp, Glympse and parking service providers, Volvo was able to focus on what it does best - providing a safe, comfortable and highly enjoyable ride.

"We are particularly proud to announce at CES the inclusion of Pandora Internet Radio in our launch of Sensus Connect. Sensus Connect offers the first-ever embedded solution supported by Pandora, the Internet radio service with more than 76 million active monthly listeners," says Holecek.

Sensus Connect will allow Volvo drivers to stream Pandora via a data connection provided by the built-in modem or their smartphone. Control of Pandora features such as station creation and thumbs feedback are now available via the head unit, making access to personalized radio in the car is as easy as FM radio.