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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do you guys think the new SENSUS system with the built-in google nav software will make it into the current generation XC60? If Geely follows a five year cycle (like most Euro makes). The XC60 should be due for a MMC in 2023. The google-based nav system is like to first be available in 2021. So, maybe its not worth any changes in the infortainment for that short a period.

I could be wrong about years and expectations here, and just curious as to what you all think.
 

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My personal guess is the major change to Android-driven Infotainment will come with a new generation; they’ll begin to stabilize new functionality in Sensus as they get ready to deploy the EV XC40; then begin the cut-over as new models or major refreshes are introduced.

Assuming there are marketing benefits with the new UI and new/changed functionality from what we know of Sensus now (beyond what geeks may think they want because the underpinnings have become Android), the new Android-driven Infotainment may provide Volvo another reason for people to upgrade to a new car with just a minor refresh. Having been in software/hardware integration and tech support my whole career, I bet it may well take too much testing (and therefore cost) to retrofit something so integral to many aspects of the car in an older vehicle. It may well be easier for Volvo to introduce the Android Infotainment alongside a single more consistent set of components and subsystems it needs to interface to that a newer gen or platform may provide. More combinations adds complexity and cost. I bet it all just comes down to internal costs to maintain and effectively stabilize Sensus functionality (allowing maps, etc data updates to continue cross-vehicle for customer sat reasons) vs. retrofit the new Infotainment into old models, and then the marketing projections how either decision *may* effect new sales plus or minus. It’s fun for us to speculate, but only Volvo likely has the data needed to make those sort of decisions.
 

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I think they will take gradual steps to move to Android Sensus towards full adoption. Eg:
- Start with EV first as we all see, as power and driving control in EV is much simpler than ICE.
- Start with new models, as selling point to attract new customers.
- And stabilize on new models.
- And consider some recent old models for back porting.
- Porting to older SPA cars only if still have incentive to unify the platform across all SPA models.

But I really wish they can open up the original SPA platform a little bit, in the way of providing an Android Sensus build that people can try it and triage problem, collect logs,
and send it back to Volvo to fix it. If some of us don't mind waiting for fix of some non-critical issues, this would be a great thing for us and reduce resources Volvo needs to put on testing.
We love to be beta or even alpha testers but Volvo has to give us the chance to test it.
 

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True.

I had two initial concerns with this new Android direction and the broad teaser of Google functionality at the core of the new Infotainment system:

  1. Foremost is while I have nothing to really hide, my personal concern becomes how Volvo deals with privacy and my ability opt in/out of tracking where I am, where I travel, my destinations, texts etc. that in theory may be going through Google infrastructure somewhere. I would hate for my data to be used in some sort of in-car advertisement pop-ups or show up as I use other services on other devices. Lots of people trust big companies — I tend to be more protective of my personal data than many. ;)
  2. “Google Maps” sounds good, but again, implementation matters, e.g. if it’s only live OTA map data from Google like I’ve had in my Tesla for years, that has it’s benefits with data currency, but it comes with other considerations
    • Who pays for the data connection (is it just for a trial period using the built-in car LTE connection — and then what is the cost after that, or does it only use an owner’s smartphone/hotspot data plan, or do we have a choice?). In my Tesla, the first new VINs like myself effectively have lifetime data access, although that’s not documented so could change; newer vehicles get the data service free for a year and pay for it as a service after that — and without the data, you not only don’t have maps and nav functionality, but loose out of some of the Autopilot benefits you may be expecting.
    • What sort of Nav is available if you don’t have a data connection plan for whatever reason, or when you loose cellular connection? Cell service is great in big cities and major corridors, but it’s not everywhere. My nav map goes blank when I’m out of data service and does not buffer significant map data to be of much help when you’re off the grid — not even road lines — just a red arrow showing the direction my vehicle is facing on a big white screen with icons for other Infotainment functionality around it.
    • Does Volvo use Google Map data and Google’s (or Waze) routing logic with ancillary functionality, or will Volvo create their own routing over the top of Google’s data like what Tesla does? Pros and cons to both from the mfgr and owner’s perspective, but the TBD choice will make the whole “Google Maps experience” very different from what you may expect.

I’m just happy I know what I’m getting in my new XC60 when it arrives in the next few months, and won’t have to deal with what will assuredly be startup bugs that happen with any major new undertaking like Volvo is doing with the new Infotainment system. On my 2020 XC60, I plan to use the standalone Sensus Nav for the most part as it will display on both the IC and HUD, will work even if I’m out of cellular range (a couple times a year), can easily download map updates if I head to areas with new developments (not often) or ever do a major road trip to places I don’t frequent, and also use CarPlay with Apple Maps, Google Maps or Waze if more current/realtime info becomes necessary. ;). I’m pretty happy with the choices I’ll have — they exceed anything in any of my former premium vehicles.

But, it will be great to watch Volvo’s initial implementation and then how it evolves once it gets out into the real world! As time goes on I’m sure there will be benefits beyond what we can imagine today.
 

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..But I really wish they can open up the original SPA platform a little bit, in the way of providing an Android Sensus build that people can try it and triage problem, collect logs, and send it back to Volvo to fix it. If some of us don't mind waiting for fix of some non-critical issues, this would be a great thing for us and reduce resources Volvo needs to put on testing. We love to be beta or even alpha testers but Volvo has to give us the chance to test it.
Understood. This has been a long-standing discussion with Tesla owners for years. Makes a lot of initial sense for those of us that may just want to put a “new skin” on the UI, or try to investigate or fix something we think is broken. After participating in those threads over there for a long-time, I believe the greatest challenge is at least parts of the Infotainment system would have to somehow be physically and software-wise partitioned-off to protect any copyright/intellectual property things, but more importantly avoid owners or dubious people breaking into security systems and tweaking things they shouldn’t especially when it comes to safety systems. Infotainment is tied to so many internal systems these days — not just the radio and fan control that can’t by themselves kill someone. If an owner or some service/contractor/friend they gave access to, could do intentional or not bad things to indicator lights, navigation, and who knows what else — who would be accountable? How would that then be managed in terms of Volvo’s possible increased costs dealing with software variants as part of warranty, possible negative press and customer sat because something was changed beyond their control, and the liabilities all that could involve. IMHO, as much as it maybe fun to play with, it’s probably not realistic to expect the “average Joe owner” will be able to tweak our car’s software in the foreseeable future. Mfgrs just have too much other stuff on their plate to deal with first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm guessing we pay for the data connection. The Current googlemaps caches pretty well. So, it MAY work to some extent without a "hot"connection but it is hard to say.

BTW, AT&T's price is currently $15 a month for unlimited data. Not exactly a bank buster.

I like googlemaps better than Volvo's native app, but I tend to use the Volve native app because it works with HUD.

Its a good bet that anything Google does will build on the awful voice commands in the current system.
 

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I can't imagine them doing this for now. Xc40 elec and polestar 2 first, then likely 21 models across the board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't think they'll be a retrofit. I'm more curious about whether it will be 21 models across the board or whether the update will be restricted to the next generation of XC60s. Since I'm leasing that would work well for me.
 
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