- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 22, 2010

Volvo Cars’ emergency assistance system Volvo onCall is celebrating ten years with a relaunch and several new features. The offer has been simplified and the price reduced significantly.

Volvo Car Corporation was the first car manufacturer to offer customers a GPS-based communication system that permitted round-the-clock contact with an operator in an emergency situation. The operator sees the vehicle’s exact location and if necessary can despatch assistance to the driver.

The system can be handled manually by the driver pressing the emergency button in a less serious situation, or automatically in the event of a serious accident. If the car’s airbags or safety belt pre-tensioners are deployed, the system is activated and information about the car’s location is sent to the Volvo onCall centre. If the driver does not respond when the operator calls, the ambulance service and police are alerted.

After ten years on the market, Volvo onCall is being relaunched and now offers a more modern interpretation of the assistance service, more closely tailored to customer needs and the demand for increased integration of wireless communication in the car. 2014 is expected to see the introduction of legislation in the EU requiring all car makers to offer an emergency assistance system. With Volvo onCall, Volvo Cars has established a technology platform that offers clear benefits ahead of the next-generation challenges.

The system includes a built-in mobile phone that has an imbedded SIM-card for emergency or assistance calls. There is also a slot for an extra SIM-card that can be used for all regular calls. The built-in phone is more powerful and has a better reception than any regular mobile phones. Volvo onCall is now also compatible with the Volvo Bluetooth system.

The new offer has been significantly simplified so it is easier for customers to understand the advantages and for Volvo dealers to present the system. The price has been reduced significantly and includes a free 2-year subscription that soon easily can be renewed on the internet by the customer.

In addition to the safety it provides in an emergency situation, Volvo onCall also offers enhanced security in the event of a break-in or theft. If the car’s alarm is activated for more than 15 seconds, the Volvo onCall operator is alerted and he or she in turn contacts the owner. If the car is stolen, the operator can monitor the car’s exact location via GPS, remotely immobilize the vehicle and inform the police. At the request of the owner, the operator can also unlock the doors. The security functions are an option in Volvo onCall.

The relaunch is accompanied by additional features that increase the security. If the car is reported stolen the driver can be asked for a PIN code in order to start the engine. Both the car’s GPS and the Volvo onCall systems are installed behind sturdy steel plates to protect them from damage.

Another major new feature for vehicles equipped with a fuel-fired heater is the remote operation of the engine heater. It can either be programmed via a computer using the Volvo owner portal, or by a new application that is downloaded to a mobile phone and sends a text message (sms) to the car to program the heater.

Volvo onCall is the emergency assistance system with by far the widest availability in Europe. The system is offered on 14 markets and is available as an option on all Volvo models.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide