Volvo is keeping its car owners in touch with their vehicles even without the benefit of an aftermarket system by releasing a mobile application that practically does the same thing.
"We design cars around people's needs and lifestyle. Creating an intuitive and ergonomically optimized driver's environment is part of our aim to offer a feeling of relaxed control. It is only logical that you should feel in command of your vehicle also after you have parked it," said Stefan Jacoby, president and chief executive of Volvo Car Corporation.
The mobile application is an extension of Volvo On Call, a system that began as a direct access to a Volvo call center in the event of an accident or other emergency. Now, the mobile application allows Volvo owners whose cars are equipped with a Volvo On Call Telematics unit to control or monitor their cars from anywhere anytime through their iPhone or Android smart phone.
Free and downloadable via the iPhone and Android application stores, the app allows Volvo owners, whose cars are from the 2012 model year and onwards, to communicate with it through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Of course, Volvo has taken the necessary steps to protect both the car owner's privacy and the security of the system.
Some of the features that come with the app are:
* Car locator. The location of the car is shown on a map. There is also a digital compass that points the driver in the right direction. If necessary, the car horn and indicators can be activated to facilitate the search.
* Remote door lock. The status of all doors and windows is displayed--and the driver can lock and unlock the car with a push on the touch screen.
* Vehicle dashboard. This feature gives the driver access to a wide range of information: fuel level, remaining range to empty tank, average fuel consumption, average speed, odometer reading and trip meter reading.
* Car check. The mobile app performs a "health" check of the car, displaying information about bulbs, break fluid level, coolant level, engine oil level and engine oil pressure.
* Driving journal. Detailed data of each trip during the last 40 days can be downloaded and stored. There is also a possibility to extract the data as an Excel file--a perfect feature for company car owners.
* Vehicle information. Basic car data such as model, registration number and VIN number are stored and can be displayed.
* Theft notification. If the car alarm is triggered, the driver is alerted via the mobile app.
If your Volvo doesn't have the required On Call Telematics unit, though, you can still install the app and use it in demonstration mode, just in case Viking Cars, Volvo's authorized local distributor, brings the On Call Telematics system to our shores one day.
"This is much more than a gadget. The mobile application is the first step in our connectivity strategy. We have started to build a bridge to the future--and the mobile app will be extended with a range of possibilities," Jacoby added.