Volvo announced Wednesday it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ecarx to establish a joint-venture company whose goal is to develop a next-generation infotainment system available to all Geely brands.
Geely is the parent company of Volvo and also a key backer of Ecarx, which was founded in 2016 in Hangzhou, China, and specializes in Android-based infotainment systems for cars. It has already worked with a number of brands including fellow Geely brands Lynk & Co. and Proton.
The joint venture will be based in Volvo's hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden, and be led by Jan-Erik Larsson, currently head of Volvo's R&D operations in China. It's expected to be operational in the third quarter of 2021.
The new infotainment system, which will include both software and hardware components, is expected to be a development of Volvo's existing Android-based infotainment system that the automaker has started rolling out to most of its fleet.
Volvo will be responsible for integrating the system in its own cars as well as those from fellow Geely brand Polestar, while Ecarx will handle Geely's other brands and potentially third parties. The system will be designed to have user interfaces unique to each brand.
Volvo said the joint venture will help speed up technology development, improve cost efficiency and create new revenue streams. A common system across multiple brands will also make it easier for third-party software developers to launch new apps.
“Through this joint venture, we can speed up development of the system, bring high quality infotainment to more cars and maximise incentives for companies and developers to create great services and apps for the users of the platform,” Henrik Green, head of R&D at Volvo, said in a statement.