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Don’t start yawning; Volvo’s upgraded Sensus infotainment system is rather quite clever

Volvo Sensus Connect

Volvo's Sensus Connect system has the good fortune to be embedded in this gorgeous dash.

It’s still CES season, which means that automakers still have time to announce their newest forms of connectivity. It’s been a big season already with Google announcing the Open Automotive Alliance partnership, with four automakers. Volvo, though, won’t be out done and has its own impressive announcement: a massive improvement to the Sensus Connect infotainment system.

Before you start yawning, let me explain.

The new “cloud solution” version of Sensus Connect doesn’t just come with more buzz words; it also has some pretty impressive features. As with Chevy’s update to OnStar, Sensus can now turn your car into a mobile wireless hotspot, perfect for pacifying the children in the backseat … or your spouse in the front, for that matter.

If the wifi fails to keep your passengers passive, try a little Pandora radio. Sensus is the first in infotainment system to have Pandora connectivity built in from the ground up. Not to mention Stitcher, Rdio, and TuneIn – the three other streaming audio services.

That’s all well and good for the “‘tainment”, but what about the info? Well, being the practical people that they are, Volvo’s engineers have you covered there, too. There is a new 3D navigation system that sounds like it will be great. The problem is; you have to use a navigation system before you can really say anything meaningful. It’s not until you have been around the block a few times with a system that you know if it is the type that likes refuse to accept addresses or randomly direct you into fields.  

What I don’t need use to be excited about are the myriad other useful apps that come with the system like Yelp, Glympse, Wikipedia, and Park & Pay, which finds and prices parking in your immediate vicinity.

Because it can link to your phone from anywhere with service, you can also set your car to warm up and input a destination while you are still making coffee or force the kids out the door with the aid of a whip.

Other automakers might be looking to technology companies to provide in-car operating systems, but there is still room for bespoke systems. Particularly from companies like Volvo that have demonstrated a nearly autistic level of attention to detail in their products.

Besides, when infotainment is coming out of one of the best looking dashes in the business, who cares if it has Google or Apple’s logo on it?

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