Swedish automotive manufacturer Volvo and tech firm EcarX are to jointly develop an infotainment system platform, which will be based on Volvo Cars’ current infotainment architecture, through a new joint venture. In the long-term, both companies and the wider Geely Group will be able to expedite their development programs, improve their cost efficiency and create new revenue streams through the outfit.
“The infotainment system in Volvo’s latest cars is one of the best on the market, rivaling mobile phones in user experience,” said Henrik Green, CTO at Volvo Cars. “Through this joint venture, we can speed up development of the system, bring high-quality infotainment to more cars and maximize incentives for companies and developers to create great services and apps for the users of the platform.”
The plan is to integrate the tech into Volvo and Polestar models first with unique user interfaces. It’ll then be made available to all Geely Group and affiliate brands as well as third parties. EcarX will be the exclusive partner for integration and commercialization of the platform into other vehicles worldwide. In China it will be offered in combination with EcarX’s portfolio of other automotive services. Volvo and EcarX are investigating the possibilities of using EcarX’s hardware with the infotainment system.
Jan-Erik Larsson, who is currently head of R&D for Volvo Cars in China, will lead the new JV, which is to become operational in the third quarter of 2021. The joint venture company will have its headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, and is expected to employ around 100 people to start with, with additional recruitment planned.
“With profound accumulation in in-vehicle infotainment systems and the intelligent connected field, EcarX is committed to becoming the leading power in automotive intelligence technology in China,” added Ziyu Shen, CEO, EcarX. “This joint venture will be another important move for EcarX’s globalization strategy. It will start the partnership between EcarX and Volvo Cars, integrates their respective technical advantages to bring global consumers connected infotainment experiences that lead the industry, and paves the way for further cooperation.”
Volvo Cars has worked with Google on the development of the Android Automotive operating system since 2017. In 2020, Volvo Cars and Polestar were the first car makers to introduce infotainment systems based on the Android Automotive operating system with Google apps and services built in.