Even the most enthusiastic drivers among us would have to admit the idea of just sitting back and having our car take us to wherever we need to go – without the hassles and headaches of commuting in heavy traffic – does sound enticing. The question is, what will we do with the spare time that frees up? Stare at our phones for the entire ride? Read an actual printed book, like some poor schmuck?

Fortunately Volvo and Ericsson are looking into the problem. And the solution they propose is high-bandwidth internet over which passengers could stream their favorite content into the car. The system wouldn't just rely on a good network connection, but would look ahead at network conditions along the route ahead and intelligently buffer video content to ensure the media is played without interruption. It'll even calculate the duration of the trip and suggest video content that fits the timeframe, so you won't have to leave the car before the video's done – or sit in the car once you've arrived to finish your show.

"Our research shows that almost 70 per cent of all mobile data traffic will be from video in the coming years," said Claes Herlitz, head of automotive services at Ericsson, in the statement below. "This requires an innovative connectivity, cloud and analytics solution that is not only capable of serving multiple moving vehicles across a highway, but also has the capacity to provide the high quality, uninterrupted video service today's consumer is accustomed to."

Set to be showcased at CES this week, the collaborative effort follows the Concept 26 that Volvo showcased in LA less than two months ago. That design revolved around an adaptive cabin space, and is further highlighted with the streaming innovations in the accompanying video. If you're watching it on your commute today, see if it takes a minute to load and you'll see what the Swedes are on to.
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Volvo Cars and Ericsson developing intelligent media streaming for self-driving cars

Volvo Cars is looking ahead to when its drivers can sit back and enjoy free time in their car on the daily commute.

At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Volvo revealed that it is developing intelligent, high bandwidth, streaming capabilities with its technology partner, Ericsson, that will ensure drivers and passengers get the most out of their time travelling in an autonomous Volvo.

"We recently unveiled our design vision for fully autonomous cars with Concept 26. Now we are actively working on future solutions to deliver the best user experience in fully autonomous mode. Imagine a highway full of autonomous cars with their occupants sitting back watching their favourite TV shows in high definition. This new way of commuting will demand new technology, and a much broader bandwidth to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience," said Anders Tylman General Manager Volvo Monitoring & Concept Center at Volvo Car Group.

Interruption-free media streaming

Autonomous drive will bring a paradigm shift to mobile net demands. Volvo and Ericsson believe that this shift will see an increased need for consistent and high-bandwidth coverage outside densely populated areas such as city centres and suburbs.

Utilising Ericsson's network and cloud expertise, Volvo Cars' aim is to deliver a high quality, interruption-free experience in its cars whilst on the move. By predicting your route and looking ahead at network conditions, content can be tailored to the duration of each trip and intelligently buffered to deliver a high quality and uninterrupted viewing experience.

"Our research shows that almost 70 per cent of all mobile data traffic will be from video in the coming years. This requires an innovative connectivity, cloud and analytics solution that is not only capable of serving multiple moving vehicles across a highway, but also has the capacity to provide the high quality, uninterrupted video service today's consumer is accustomed to, said Claes Herlitz, Head of Automotive Services at Ericsson.

By learning the most common routes and times of travel and understanding media preferences, future Volvo cars will be able to provide one-click navigation and a customised preference based list of potential media - allowing customers to choose routes and select content tailored to the amount of autonomous time that is available during their commute.

Personalized and optimized content

"If you want to watch the latest episode of your favourite series, the car will know how long the journey needs to take and can optimize the route and driving control accordingly. With autonomous drive it is no longer just a question of just getting from A to B quickly – it's about the experience you wish to have in the car – how you wish to spend the time you are saving. With our future autonomous drive technology we will provide people with the freedom to choose the way they would like to commute and the content they would like to experience," concluded Anders Tylman.

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