Volvo is one carmaker that is actively experimenting with new ways (Volvo Keyless Cars and Volvo In-Car Delivery) to move beyond simply building and selling cars. In their latest effort, Volvo has created a service ecosystem around its cars that give its customers access to various third-party service providers to remotely fuel up, get a car wash, service the car, and more.
The heart of the Volvo Concierge Service is the digital key, a one-time-use location- and time-specific key that allows service providers access to the vehicle. This is a big advantage as it keeps the car secure and keeps owners from needing to meet someone and hand over the key. The supplier, whether that’s a refueling company or a valet parking attendant or Volvo itself (for oil changes and other maintenance), use an app that remotely unlocks the car and allows the engine to turn on.
The Volvo Concierge Services are currently being tested in the San Francisco Bay Area with owners of the new Volvo XC90 SUVs and S90 sedans.
For decades, drivers have been accustomed to accessing and driving cars with physical keys. But no longer. In a ground-breaking move for the automotive industry, Volvo Cars plans to become the world’s first car manufacturer to offer cars without keys from 2017.
Volvo customers will be offered an application for their mobile phones to replace the physical key with a digital key. The innovative Bluetooth-enabled digital key technology, will offer Volvo customers far more flexibility, enabling them to benefit from entirely new ways to use and share cars.
The new Volvo app would enable the digital key on the customer’s mobile phone to do everything a physical key currently does, such as locking or unlocking the doors or the trunk and allowing the engine to be started.
Volvo plans to roll out the technology to a “limited” number of commercially available cars in 2017 and will test it in the real world from spring 2016 via its car sharing firm Sunfleet, stationed at Gothenburg airport, Sweden. Physical keys will continue to be offered for people who want them.
Car companies today are relying more and more on augmented and virtual reality to help visualize their work. And for about six months now, Microsoft and Volvo have been working on a way to incorporate a “mixed reality” into the process of choosing a car. Now with the help of Microsoft’s HoloLens technology they have successfully put together a car showroom straight out of science fiction.
The below video shows how car buyers will be able to check out useful features that are often overlooked because they no longer read car manuals. This detailed mixed reality visualization will also help buyers understand how the respective features work in various scenarios.