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by Tim Beissmann

Volvo insists the new XC90’s in-car control system will be safer for drivers than conventional infotainment systems.

Revealed in detail overnight after being unveiled last week, the second-generation XC90’s cabin does away with the brand’s traditional button-heavy dashboard layout in favour of one with only a handful of physical controls and dials at the base of the centre stack and on the steering wheel.

The heart of the infotainment system is a large, tablet-style touchscreen, which will feature clever infrared technology allowing it to be operated even while wearing gloves.

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Volvo Car Group research and development senior vice president Dr Peter Mertens explains the screen operation has been logically designed to quickly become part of the driver’s muscle memory.

“Information, navigation and media are high up and easy to check. The phone controls, application icons and climate controls are located low and are comfortable to reach and touch. All of this logic is based on extensive usability and user experience research and the latest technology,” Mertens said.

Volvo says the layout maximises the integration of internet-based services and other infotainment functions while minimising driver distraction and the time spent with hands off the steering wheel and eyes off the road – the latter aided further by the XC90’s newly announced head-up display.

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The XC90 will become the first Volvo to offer Apple CarPlay, allowing the screen to mirror the display and functionality of connected iPhone, iPad and iPod devices.

Other highlights include the world-first Park and Pay application, which can locate parking spaces and pay automatically in car parks equipped with the required technology.

The system will also feature satellite navigation by HERE, internet radio, and a service booking application that informs the driver when a service is due and recommends appointment times at their local Volvo dealership.

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Volvo will announce details of the new XC90’s powertrains in the coming weeks before unveiling its exterior design in August.

The production model will debut in the flesh at October’s Paris motor show before going on sale in Australia early in 2015.




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