At this week’s 2022 CES show, Volvo offered more details of its coming Ride Pilot hands free advanced driver assist system, the rollout of which is part of a broader partnership strategy that Volvo is pursuing with the goal of delivering more advanced technology and convenience features to its customers.

As for Ride Pilot itself, think of it as Volvo’s version of General Motors’ Super Cruise or Tesla’s Autopilot systems. At this point, it’s not yet clear whether this will be an advanced SAE Level 2 (which Super Cruise is) or a Level 3 system where there’s a more complete handoff from the driver to the system. Volvo is planning for Ride Pilot to become available as an add-on subscription for Volvo’s coming new all-electric, flagship SUV that’s expected to debut later this year.

Volvo has already been performing autonomous vehicle testing on roads in Sweden and has been gathering data in Europe the U.S., and says that it will extensively test Ride Pilot in California this coming summer. After receiving regulatory approval, it plans roll it out to customers in California first before it becomes available in the rest of the U.S. and world markets. Volvo said in its release announcing the highway only Ride Pilot that it will “take responsibility for driving,” meaning that it could be pushing into Level 3 territory with its new system. Over the air updates will further improve Ride Pilot once it’s rolled out.

Helping power Ride Pilot is autonomous driving software from company Zenseact, developed in close cooperation with Volvo’s in house team. Team Volvo is also working with developers from Luminar to hone the sensor array and software integration needed for Ride Pilot to “see.” Ride Pilot will use more than two dozen sensors in all, including Luminar’s new Iris LiDAR sensor.

Zenseact and Luminar are two of the major players in the autonomous driving space, and Volvo used CES to highlight the partnerships with them and other companies who it is working with to develop the technologies of the future for its next generation of vehicles.

Volvo and Google Are More Sympatico

Volvo has already been working closely with Google and was the first to integrate Google’s Android operating system and features including Google Maps into present generation models.

It’s deepening those ties with the tech giant with the announcement that it will be offering Google’s Home ecosystem and enhanced support for other Google Assistant-enabled devices to its vehicle offerings. It’s also planning to integrate YouTube video playback as an app, but only when the car is parked, of course. Safety first.

Volvo envisions Google Assistant, a version of which it already supports in several of its vehicles, to allow an owner to, say, schedule when they want their vehicle to start charging, while the Google Home play will revolve around the car becoming part of your broader Google ecosystem. The thought is that Volvo EVs will help you become more carbon neutral by helping to power your home, for example.

Volvo and Google also announced that navigation apps including Sygic and Flitsmeister, charging apps Chargepoint and Plugshare, and parking apps SpotHero and ParkWhiz will soon become available for most customers.

Faster Infotainment

Volvo also announced a collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies which is designed to help the automaker better power its infotainment systems. Using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon automotive platform, the goal is to further upgrade Volvo’s Android-powered system to be faster and more responsive, an area where Volvo could use some improvement at present.

Like Ride Pilot, Volvo envisions that once Snapdragon is fully integrated that updates will be rolled out over the air and as its next-generation models are developed.

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