Volvo Cars will introduce Skype for Business to its new 90 Series vehicles. This makes Volvo the first carmaker to launch an in-car productivity tool like Microsoft's collaborative app. This could be just a new distraction, or it could be a next step in autonomous driving.
Volvo announced that Skype for Business would be available as an in-car app in its S90, V90 and other 90 Series vehicles starting with the 2017 model year. The infotainment-based app syncs with the user's smartphone to display upcoming meetings and participation details, and allows the joining of meetings with a touch of the infotainment screen. Meeting codes and logins are automatic, freeing the user from remembering or entering these distracting details.
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As the video below shows, Volvo is also including some note-taking capability to go with the Skype addition. The company says that this partnership with Microsoft may also mean that Microsoft's Cortana personal assistant will be coming soon. That would allow more seamless voice recognition and command response for in-car apps.
"Skype for Business represents another big step forward for our in-car connectivity and communication offer," said Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz, VP of Consumer Connectivity Services at Volvo Car Group. "With the dawn of autonomous cars we see a future where flexible in-car productivity tools will enable people to reduce time spent in the office. This is just the beginning of a completely new way of looking at how we spend time in the car."
Tylman-Mikiewicz is hinting towards a future use of these types of technologies, when cars are driving themselves. Volvo has long been exploring autonomous vehicle technologies and is considered a pioneer in road train and vehicle-to-vehicle communications techs.