For 2014, Volvo's lineup is getting a much-needed infotainment update.
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It's called Sensus Connected Touch, and it will be available on all new Volvos starting in May 2013. Best of all, owners of newer Volvos can upgrade their old Sensus systems as long as their cars have 7-inch screens.
It's all possible thanks to a new "beam-scanned" touchscreen interface, developed with Ericsson, which debuted at CES 2013. Unlike most in-car touchscreens, which use capacitive technology, Sensus Connected Touch instead uses infrared sensors to determine where a finger is pointing. It's quite responsive, allowing for pinch-to-zoom and swipe, and will even recognize input from a gloved hand—quite important during a Swedish winter.
While the rest of the dashboard and center stack looks quite similar to Volvos past, users will find a whole new interface once the car is turned on. Sensus Connected Touch features the Asteroid platform from Parrot, a maker of aftermarket Android devices for cars.
An expanding lineup of apps includes Spotify, plus Google maps and a number of Android apps re-skinned for in-car use.
Pricing hasn't been announced for the US yet, but a Volvo representative said the system costs around €900 in Europe. That would put it at around $1,150 in the US.