Hence, a touch screen replaces the traditional selection of buttons and controls in the center stack with one control panel, which interacts with (a) the digital instrument cluster in front of the driver, while vital information is projected on the (b) head-up display on the lower part of the windscreen. The user interface also includes thumb-reach controls on the steering wheel as well as voice control.
Worth indicating, the touch screen interface can be operated even while wearing gloves, thanks to the application of infrared technology on top of the existing touch sensitive surface.
The layout on the portrait screen can be described as a stack of flexible ‘tiles’, each displaying a key functionality: Navigation on top, followed by media and telephone. A thin notification band is located above the tiles, while the digital climate controls form the base of the pile.
To switch between functions, the user does not have to go back to a main menu, as the interface is designed in a way that when any of the tiles on the touch screen is expanded (that is, selected), the others remain visible, but compressed, hence, accessible to select again. Once selected, the compressed tile expands and the previously expanded one becomes compressed again... but still visible and ready for selection any time.
In its Sensus system, Volvo includes a wide selection of cloud-based applications with a branded look and feel. The cloud-based services vary depending on the market, but include generally Internet radio, connected navigation, finding and paying for parking, discovering new restaurants at the destination, streaming of favorite music as well as the ability to mirror and use Apple iOS and Android devices in the touch screen display.
For this purpose, Volvo Car Group joined last June the Open Automotive Alliance (a large group of technology and auto industry leading companies committed to bringing the Android platform to cars). Starting with the all-new XC90, Android Auto will be available on all new Volvo cars based on the new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA).
This integration brings features and services familiar to Android smartphone and tablet users, such as Google Search, Google Maps, Google Play Music and specially adapted third party applications, such as Spotify, directly into Volvo Cars' center console touch screen display. All phone-based applications can be controlled via voice or steering wheel controls or the car’s touch screen.
Volvo Cars will also include Apple CarPlay interoperability in all new models based on the new Volvo SPA (Scalable Product Architecture).