Volvo officially announced its new concept electric vehicle in an online presentation on July 1. In an effort to prepare for its comprehensive electrification strategy for 2030, the company has sought the help of tech giants such as Google, Nvidia, and Luminar to assist it with its integration of automotive software and hardware and to help it to further upgrade its automotive technology.
Google will provide software engineers to help Volvo develop the automotive operating system VolvoCars.OS, while Nvidia will offer the Nvidia DRIVE Orin single-chip system that would allow a sizeable improvement in its cars' computing power. Luminar will contribute its high-resolution LiDAR that will elevate the driving capacity of autonomous vehicles. The new generation EVs of Volvo, under the assistance from these tech giants, will catch up to the latest technology in the new era.
Volvo, which has been around for 94 years, proposed its comprehensive electrification strategy for 2030 in order to prepare itself for the transition towards electric vehicles. On July 1, it officially confirmed its plans with the announcement of a new concept car design called “Volvo Concept Recharge.”
“We will be transformed into a luxury BEV brand in 2030, and will offer the best models after 94 years,” commented Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson, who emphasized that the company will satisfy the needs of the consumers on new generation EVs by offering leading safety standards, advanced self-driving technology, and cloud updates.
▲The new levelled chassis of Volvo allows further possibilities for the interior space of the vehicle.
The new concept car features a new type of BEV architecture, where the wheelbase is extended through the levelled chassis to expand the interior space of the vehicle. The driver’s seat which offers a high level of vision is preserved, while the hood has been further lowered to reduce wind resistance.
The “Thor hammer” headlight of Volvo has been redesigned too, where the grille now looks like a shield. The taillight, meanwhile, still uses the same vertical design to maintain the classy look of Volvo on this new EV.
Volvo is currently working with the Swedish battery company Northvolt on the R&D of a brand new high endurance battery in the hopes of achieving a driving range of 1,000km and reducing half the charging time prior to 2030. The two Nordic companies will produce batteries using 100% renewable energy to reduce the overall emission of greenhouse gas, and will incorporate future recycling into consideration during the design phase, so as to further elevate the recycling efficiency of raw materials.
Auto Manufacturers Have Placed Additional Emphases on Software
Volvo, once a leader in safe and autonomous driving, has been trailing on the development of new automotive technologies. Under the competition of EVs in the new era, Volvo has become a partner with Luminar to reinforce its existing anti-collision capability by using the latter’s LiDAR technology; it has also sought the collocation of the single-chip system from Nvidia to help it achieve higher levels of autonomous driving in the future.
▲Autonomous Driving Capacity as an Essential Function for New Vehicles and a Battlefield for Software
To incorporate smart technology, Volvo and its autonomous driving software department Zenseact will establish an automotive data center. Although no information is yet available on the super computer that it will adopt, the company claims that it will be able to achieve a data processing capability of 200PB, which is equivalent to 225 million GB. The super computer will serve as the brain of Volvo’s smart driving.
In terms of the vehicle terminal, Volvo has also enlisted the help of Google to co-develop the exclusive VolvoCars.OS operating system, which will replace the existing control model through multiple ECUs, as well as facilitate the rapid integration of various information within the vehicle to provide a better usage experience. New vehicles in 2022 are expected to adopt this particular system, and a core computing architecture formed by three host computers will complete the image processing, AI, and telematics system.
▲We can see from the rendering of the concept car that a separate monitor paired with a HUD will be the standard configuration for new Volvo vehicles.
Of course, the entry of Google means that Volvo will be highly assimilated with Android apps, including Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Google Play. These will become the default applications for the telematics system and will help it to achieve smoother response times and optimized user experiences.
The path of EV transformation has not been easy for traditional automotive manufacturers, so it is comforting to see Volvo develop a comprehensive strategic plan for the future. In the new transportation era, it can be said that the performances and hardware specifications of vehicles will become less and less important. Services and software design have now become the new areas of focus for manufacturers.
(Photo source: provided by Volvo)