Volvo will let you control your car from your Apple Watch
Will your smartwatch someday replace your car keys? It's certainly possible, and the latest efforts from Volvo bring that notion one step closer to reality.
The Swedish automaker recently announced an update to its Volvo On Call app which allows you to control various functions of your car via an Android, iOS or Windows Phone device. It now supports both the Apple Watch and smartwatches running Android Wear.
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Before it was an app, Volvo On Call launched back in 2001 as a safety and security system that could connect a driver with a phone operator when assistance was needed — for example, if a car's airbags were deployed, Volvo would send emergency services using GPS data.
Eventually, On Call morphed from a safety feature into an app that allows Volvo owners to remotely lock and unlock the doors, activate heating and cooling functions, start the engine and check their fuel levels. It even can help drivers find their car if it's lost in the parking lot.
With the app's latest update, many of these functions can be controlled from your wrist, though Volvo is unclear on exactly what those functions are. An image from Volvo's press release shows an Android Wear Device with a notification that reads "Car doors are unlocked. Lock the doors?" In addition, Volvo On Call will now offer support for Cortana and allow users to push navigation information from their phones to their cars.
Volvo joins Volkswagen, BMW, Porsche and Hyundai as automotive manufactures that have launched or are launching apps for Apple Watch and Android Wear. All perform more-or-less the same functions as Volvo's.
This is a crucial moment for Volvo as they have recently released the XC90, its first new model since the company was acquired China's Geely after a disastrous ownership by Ford. With the XC90, Volvo is leaning on its reputation for safety, while also trying to position the company as makers of beautiful, technologically advanced cars. The integration with Apple Watch and Android Wear is a good way to push that image.
The Volvo On Call update will be released at the end of this month, and as for the replacement of car keys by wearables, we'll have to see how that pans out.