New Safety, Security Via Satellite with Volvo On Call Plus
19 September 2000New Safety, Security Via Satellite with Volvo On Call Plus
ROCKLEIGH, N.J., Sept. 18 Volvo On Call Plus, a hi-tech safety and personal security link that can put drivers in touch with a host of emergency and other services from virtually anywhere in the continental United States*, will debut on the sporty 2001 Volvo S60 sedan along with other selected Volvo models. The new system combines Global Positioning System navigation, mobile telephone technology and direct satellite communications with Volvo's breakthrough multiplex computer management to create a versatile system that can summon help in the case of a collision, breakdown or personal threat even if the car is out of mobile phone range. Volvo On Call Plus will be available as an option on selected Volvo models. The multi-facetted new system will alert a central monitoring service if the car is in a collision which triggers the vehicle's airbags and put the occupants in touch with help if the car is in an area with mobile phone service. The system can even dispatch an ambulance to the exact location when the Volvo On Call Plus alarm center can't talk directly to the passengers. The system features the auto industry's first direct communications link via satellite to permit it to function even when outside of cellular telephone coverage areas. Volvo On Call Plus uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation system to continuously update a memory in the car's mobile phone. In the case of a collision, which activates air bag or seat belt pretensioner to deploy, the telephone is activated by the car's multiplex computer system. The mobile phone automatically dials the Volvo On Call Plus customer service center to transmit data from the incident and the exact location where it has occurred. At the same time, the system opens a voice line to an operator at the center. In the event that no one in the car is able to respond, the operator can call an ambulance to the location based on the location given from the GPS. Direct-to-satellite communication is unique to Volvo On Call Plus. In areas where there is no mobile phone service, Volvo On Call Plus can notify the customer service center via a signal directed to an orbiting satellite and relayed back to a telephone system in the United States. A text message, displayed on the car phone's screen, confirms that help is on the way. Contacting emergency services is just one facet of Volvo On Call Plus. The system also has a driver-activated assault alarm, the ability to summon technical help if the car becomes disabled, automatically notifying Volvo On Call Plus customer service center, if the car's alarm is triggered and can also track the car in case it is stolen even if the phone is not switched on. In addition, Volvo On Call Plus can un-lock the car doors (a helpful feature for stranded motorists who lock their keys in the car) when the owner contacts the center and provides the car's security code. The heart of the system, the car's integrated telephone system has been collision tested and is positioned in the car to minimize possible damage in the event of an impact. It even has its own back-up battery to provide about 30 minutes of service in case the car's battery is disabled. Because the phone's memory is constantly updated by the GPS, it can still function if the GPS is damaged, based on the last update before a crash. Volvo has built a relationship with Verizon Wireless, Orbcomm Global Data & Messaging along with Cross Country Automotive Services as the service providers. Equally important, Volvo On Call Plus is expandable to include future services as technology and demand increase. In the short term, the system has the potential to provide interactive travel directions. And because of Volvo's pioneering use of multiplex computer interconnection, it will be possible to connect the car's computer network to a service facility via the telephone for remote technical diagnosis. One day, the car may even be able to book its own service appointment. New services are expected to be added as mobile phone networks expand their capabilities and new technologies make new features available. Instant local weather reports or stock market information, video surveillance for protection against theft, or even pay-per-view movies are among the many potential future services. Perhaps parents may one day be able to relax just a little when they loan the car to the kids, knowing that they have limited the speed of the vehicle with one call to Volvo On Call Plus. The Volvo On Call Plus option will be available when the service is launched later this year. Volvo On Call Plus option is available on all model year 2001 S60, S80, V70 and Cross Country by the end of the year. Volvo automobiles are sold and serviced through 360 retailers across the country.