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What is VolvoCars OS? Future Volvo electric cars will run company’s own operating system

(Pocket-lint) – Technology has become such a key part of in-car systems – from infotainment, to safety, to cloud communications – that Volvo has announced its future electric vehicles will run on an all-new in-house operating system: VolvoCars OS.

But what does this mean and why does it matter? This isn’t Volvo wiping the decks clear of its partners, there’s still a backbone of Google Automotive OS – so the current Volvo and Google partnership remains – along with handshake systems such as Autosar to ensure there’s a common language.

Volvo’s take is that by pulling its resources in-house that it can create and manage and therefore more quickly develop and update its system.

“By developing software in-house we can boost development speeds and improve your Volvo faster than we can today,” reads a statement by Henrik Green, Volvo’s Chief Technology Officer. “Just like on your smartphone or computer, new software and features can be rolled out swiftly through over-the-air updates.”

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We’re already big fans of the Google infotainment system – as you’ll find in the XC40 Recharge, Polestar 2, and others – so can we expect Volvo to move away from this? Volvo still calls Google “its co-development partner for its infotainment systems”, so we suspect it will be much the same. A bit like an Android phone running a different software skin than stock, allowing specific additions.

Volvo isn’t locking out third-parties either, with VolvoCars OS offering an API for developers – that’s an application programming interface – so that additional apps can be part of the system.

Furthermore, from 2022, Volvo will utilise a central compute system in each of its EVs – supported by Nvidia, best known for its graphic processing units in gaming PCs – to act much like the car’s brain, handling AI (artificial intelligence), vision processing (for safety features), and infotainment. 

Will other automakers follow Volvo’s lead? We’ll have to wait and see if the VolvoCars OS announcement will set the ball rolling. It could be VW OS and BMW OS next, eh?

Writing by Mike Lowe.

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