Volvo works with Microsoft on next generation automotive technologies

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A new partnership between Volvo and Microsoft will allow car owners to use holographic technology to configure and preview their car choice in 3D before purchase.

The two companies have reported how Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first fully untethered holographic computer, might be used in future to redefine how customers first encounter and explore a car, as well as how cars might be bought and sold in future.

Areas of future collaboration between the two companies are likely to include autonomous driving technologies and the utilisation of data generated from connected cars to create new services.

Volvo NZ general manager Steve Kenchington says the potential for this technology to enhance the car buying experience is significant.

"In the future we may see consumers being able to try out new vehicle features in an augmented reality setting,” says Kenchington, in a statement.

In the future we may see consumers being able to try out new vehicle features in an augmented reality setting.Steve Kenchington, Volvo NZ

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“While these options may include aesthetic changes such as colours and accessories, the technology also has the potential to allow us to show customers how the more advanced safety features inside the vehicle work to prevent accidents.”

“For the car buyer, this means making a more informed purchase decision,” he says.

Kenchington says HoloLens technology might also liberate dealers from more traditional sales environments and allow them to take a car configurator out on the road in small pop-up stores, shopping malls or on the high street.

This will open new sales channels and introduce cars to a far larger potential audience, he states.

“We are extremely happy to innovate with Microsoft in the field of future mobility,” says Klas Bendrik, CIO at Volvo Cars. “Today’s technology will allow us to achieve not only a more sustainable and crash-free future but also new benefits for our customers and society."

A HoloLens demonstration was held at Microsoft’s global headquarters in Redmond, and showed how mixed reality might be used by customers to configure cars in three dimensions. With HoloLens, a powerful, wearable computer, holograms are mixed into the physical world.

During the demonstration, users experienced Volvo’s new sedan and its latest autonomous driving technology in 3D before the car has even been built and launched.

“We are thrilled to be working with Volvo Cars to reimagine what is possible in car design, discovery and purchasing. We are excited to be at this intersection of technology and human-centric design with Volvo,” says Scott Erickson, senior director, Microsoft HoloLens.

Related: No human drivers in 20 years: Steve Wozniak

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