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Car and Driver: Volvo and Ericsson Partner on the Real Killer App for Autonomous Cars: Streaming HD Video

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Concept 26

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What will we do in our cars when we no longer have to drive them? Probably the same thing we do with any other downtime: Spend more time online. In getting ready for that exciting future, Volvo has announced a partnership with Ericsson to bring high-bandwith streaming to the autonomous Volvos of tomorrow.

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Concept 26

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Volvo, which is particularly enthusiastic about autonomous cars, illustrated its Concept 26 (an autonomous car interior design study unveiled last fall) by showing a bearded hipster behind the wheel reading a book. But that’s so unrealistic—not the bearded hipster, the notion of someone reading a book. Now, Volvo has gotten wise to what autonomous driving is really all about.

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“Imagine a highway full of autonomous cars with their occupants sitting back watching their favorite TV shows in high definition,” the company says in a press release announcing the tie-up with Ericsson. Adds Ericsson’s Claes Herlitz, head of automotive services: “Our research shows that almost 70 percent of all mobile data traffic will be in the form of video in the coming years.”

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What’s more interesting is that, for autonomous-car trips, Volvo sees the consumption of mobile video actually overtaking the getting from point A to point B in importance. “If you want to watch the latest episode of your favorite series, the car will know how long the journey needs to take and can optimize the route and driving control accordingly,” Volvo says.

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In other words, the car will choose a route that’s the right length to enable you see your streaming HD TV show in its entirety. Thus, in the autonomous-driving future, our understanding of travel time may evolve: “How long does it take you to get to work?” “Two Game of Thrones.”

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