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Next Volvo XC90 to ditch dashboard buttons

Tue, 03 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700

VOLVO is looking to the future of in-car technology in next year's new XC90 by doing away with almost all buttons and replacing them with a new combination of a touch-screen, a head-up display and steering wheel-mounted thumb wheels.

The system is designed to make better use of the available interior space while reducing distractions for the driver, but it will mean that users will have to start from scratch to learn how to operate even the car's most basic interior functions.

To make it worthwhile Volvo is integrating new features like remote 'Park and Pay' applications and the ability to use and mirror Apple iOS apps in the interface.

Such technology may be as much a hindrance as it is a help, however, with Android-based smartphones now dominating the global sales market, especially when North America is removed from the equation.

In a press release Volvo explains the thinking behind the new layout. It says: “[It] is crucially easier to use, ensuring drivers will be able to keep their eyes on the road as much as possible while operating or making adjustments to the system.

“It also uses the car’s interior space far more efficiently and offers a range of additional benefits such as integrated cloud-based applications for music streaming and other services.”

Dr Thomas M. Müller, Vice President of Electrics/Electronics & E-propulsion engineering for Volvo Car Group adds: “As cars increasingly become more connected to the internet and are able to offer a far wider range of functions and entertainment services, the way in which the driver interacts with the car’s systems is becoming progressively more important.

“It is essential that these services are offered in a way that does not reduce safety levels and in a manner that is easy to understand and optimized for the driving task.”

The all-new XC90 is due to go on sale in 2015.

By Press Association reporter