Volvo is bringing Google Assistant to your car, even if you don’t use Android

It doesn’t matter if you’re an iPhone enthusiast or part of the Android Army — if you buy a Volvo car in the next few years, you’ll have access to the Google universe, including Google Assistant, Maps, and the Google Play Store. Thanks to an ongoing partnership between the carmaker and the tech giant, Volvo will be introducing Google services into its next-generation Sensus infotainment system, which is built upon Google’s Android operating system.

This announcement follows last year’s revelation at Google I/O that Volvo would be working with Google to create some new features for its automobiles, and now we’re learning that even Volvo owners without Android phones will be able to access some of Android’s most well-loved features. Within Sensus, customers will be able to access apps and services developed through the Google and Volvo partnership, meant specifically for these new vehicles. But they’ll also be able to check out thousands of other apps through the Play Store that have been “optimized and adapted for Android-based car infotainment systems,” Volvo noted in its announcement.

As apps and software are released and updated, Sensus will allow drivers to download the most recent versions in real-time, and automatically apply any improvements or fixes.

“Bringing Google services into Volvo cars will accelerate innovation in connectivity and boost our development in applications and connected services,” said Henrik Green, senior vice president of research and development at Volvo Cars. “Soon, Volvo drivers will have direct access to thousands of in-car apps that make daily life easier and the connected in-car experience more enjoyable.”

Perhaps the most useful of the new integrations will be Google Assistant, which will give drivers a hands-free method of controlling various aspects of their cars. By way of simple voice commands, Assistant can help control a variety of functions, including air conditioning, music selections, and messaging. And with Google Maps integrations, you’ll also be privy to refreshed map and traffic data in real time, so you always have the most up-to-date information about road conditions and alternate routes.

“The Google partnership is an important strategic alliance for Volvo Cars,” Green continued. “The Android platform, Google services, and Google’s working relationship with app developers in-house and worldwide will help us further improve the Volvo car experience.”