Volvo is making sure you don’t get bored while your car drives itself


Entertaining your passengers is one thing, but YOU don’t need to find a way to pass the time while you’re driving because most of your attention is (or should be) on the road. With self-driving vehicles, however, even the person in the driver’s seat is a passenger, which means for some of those longer trips, it’d be nice to have some way to entertain yourself, and that’s where Volvo thinks it can be of assistance. One of the most-notable features of the Concept 26 concept car it unveiled last night is a dashboard that flips into a large display, which will allow you to do things like watch Netflix. The company has even joined forces with fellow Swedish company Ericsson to develop better streaming technologies that will be designed specifically for self-driving vehicles.

Volvo thinks you’re going to be watching a lot of video when your car is driving itself, and it’s working with Ericsson to create smarter streaming technologies to reliably get you Modern Family on your commute. One of the key parts of Concept 26, Volvo’s vision for what you’ll be up to while the car handles the tedious driving bits, is an enormous video screen that flips up from the passenger side dashboard. The Swedish carmaker thinks many drivers will want to sit back, relax, and enjoy some Netflix during their commute. That sounds great. However, not everyone has reliable, high-speed cellular connections for their entire commute. There might be sections with slower or unreliable connections, or even total dead spots. That would deliver a suboptimal viewing experience so Volvo has partnered with Swedish telecom provider Ericsson to build smarter streaming technologies specifically for autonomous cars. Because the car knows roughly how long your drive home is, based on historical and current traffic information, the car will create a customized list of potential media, and cache enough of each show or movie to get you through any cellular dead zones. “The car will know how long the journey needs to take and can optimize the route and driving control accordingly,” says Anders Tylman, head of the Volvo Monitoring & Concept Center, the R&D lab working on the project. “With our future autonomous drive technology we will provide people with the freedom to choose the way they would like to commute.”

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