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Volvo working with Microsoft to bring a new dimension to its cars

Volvo teams with Microsoft's HoloLens. The partnership’s initial focus is on innovative uses for Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headset. (Image: Microsoft)

Volvo teams with Microsoft's HoloLens. The partnership’s initial focus is on innovative uses for Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headset. (Image: Microsoft)

The initial focus of the partnership was revealed to be on HoloLens, Microsoft's untethered virtual and mixed reality headset.

Volvo is working with Microsoft in order to develop new high-tech ways of keeping drivers safe and of helping the next generation discover the benefits of driving a premium Swedish, rather than German or Japanese marque.

At a special event at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters, the initial focus of the partnership was revealed to be on HoloLens, Microsoft's untethered virtual and mixed reality headset and its potential to bring a literal new dimension to discovering, configuring and experiencing a new car.

"HoloLens offers the freedom to create a bespoke experience which customers can steer themselves. Imagine using mixed reality to choose the type of car you want -- to explore the colors and wheels, or get a better understanding of the features, services and options available," said Björn Annwall, Senior Vice President, Marketing Sales and Service at Volvo Cars.

Over the past 12 months, Volvo has been exploring more effective and affordable ways of reaching and interacting with consumers. In December it stated it would limit its involvement in auto shows to just three appearances a year and focus investment on web and social media instead.

At last year's LA Auto Show it became the first car company to embrace Google's Project Cardboard virtual reality headset as a means of offering attendees and those stuck at home alike three-dimensional virtual test drives of its latest SUV.

And when that car, the XC90, officially launched, it did so exclusively online. Volvo offered 1927 individually numbered First Editions to web users and sold out in 47 hours.

Therefore, joining forces with Microsoft should be seen as simply the next logical step towards catering for the next generation of car owner.

Volvo understands that just like with a potential Hollywood blockbuster, marketing is as important as the movie if it is to become a hit. But, as a company obsessed with safety and responsibility, it believes that those huge sums of cash would be better used developing better cars and innovative, life-saving technologies.

Alongside the Minority Report-style holographic interaction of HoloLens, the companies will also be pooling their resources in order to develop and innovate around connected and autonomous cars.

"We are extremely happy to innovate with Microsoft in the field of future mobility," said Volvo CIO Klas Bendrik. "Today's technology will allow us to achieve not only a more sustainable and crash-free future but also new benefits for our customers and society."
first published:November 22, 2015, 18:32 IST