How Volvo is using developers to make their cars safer

Volvo Portal
Volvo Portal

• Volvo has launched an Innovation Portal for developers across the world. 

• The aim is allow external developers to create innovative services and in-car apps. 

• Volvo also released a LiDAR dataset is released together with Luminar, the global leader in motor industry LiDAR hardware and software tech.


Volvo has launched a new Innovation Portal aimed at creating safer cars a by making a wide variety of resources and tools available for free. The carmaker will allow external developers to create innovative services and in-car apps. 

Volvo XC40 Recharge 3D Unity template
Volvo XC40 Recharge 3D Unity template

With the help of more comprehensive development of software and services for its products, the carmaker aims to significantly increase its customers' possibilities to make their Volvo cars more personal.

Volvo says the portal's resources are useful for developers and researchers, smart-home tinkerers, and computer-savvy artists.

Volvo is making this available to continue its tradition of sharing knowledge and research to contribute to safer roads for all.

Volvo XC40 Recharge 3D Unity template
Volvo XC40 Recharge 3D Unity template

"Our cars are becoming increasingly smarter and more connected, and with that comes a growing demand for apps and services among our customers," said Henrik Green, chief technology officer at Volvo. 

"By making these resources publicly available, we support developers in- and outside our company, and collaborate with the best of the best in their fields," Green said.

The Innovation Portal includes a so-called emulator that recreates the Android Automotive Operating System and Google apps used in new products , providing developers with an authentic in-car experience of the system on their computer. 

Volvo XC40 Recharge 3D Unity template
Volvo XC40 Recharge 3D Unity template

Extended Vehicle API 

This emulator is a helpful tool in supporting app developers to design, develop, test and publish apps directly on Google Play in the car. The platform will also feature the Extended Vehicle API, marking the first time Volvo offers an API to the public.

With Volvo customers' consent, the API allows developers and other third parties to access car dashboard data, such as charge/fuel level and distance traveled, and use it to build and provide new services. 

Additional data and data sources will be made available over time. Other resources include a LiDAR dataset and a downloadable production 3D car model of the fully electric XC40 Recharge.

Volvo XC40 Recharge 3D Unity template
Volvo XC40 Recharge 3D Unity template

LiDAR

Volvo says the LiDAR dataset is released together with Luminar, the global leader in motor industry LiDAR hardware and software technology, and Duke University.

The technology has been created using Luminar's high-performance LiDAR sensors, which detect objects around the car up to 250 metres away by scanning the environment with laser lights' pulses.

This dataset can help researchers to improve algorithms related to long-range LiDAR detection, a crucial element to create autonomous cars that are safe at high speeds and in complex traffic environments.

The high-fidelity 3D car model is developed in collaboration with Unity, the company behind the world's leading platform for creating and operating real-time 3D content.

Unity is used by creators ranging from game developers to artists, architects, filmmakers and automotive designers.

Volvo XC40 Recharge 3D Unity template
Volvo XC40 Recharge 3D Unity template

The car model and an accompanying 3D environment are suitable for use in visualisation applications, virtual reality, cinematic experiences and car configurators.

 These resources are also available as base tools on Unity's developer hub, where millions of Unity users get access to tutorials on how to use the template.

The Innovation Portal will grow continuously with more and more resources added over time. Volvo says within the next few months, a fully functional 3D car model will be released. 

It will feature digital replications of the car's physical sensors, allowing users to test sensor data for research and education purposes.

Developers will also be able to use the model to build new functions and services.

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