volvo-hmiThe Swedish automaker Volvo has been awarded the 2016 Car Human Machine Interface (HMI) Award for its on-board services system, Co-Pilot.

Part of Europe’s HMI and UX event, we.CONNECT recognizes leading automakers’ innovations in technology, including HMIs. In we.CONNECT’s most recent event, it awarded automakers for three categories: the most innovative HMI feature, the best collaboration partner for developing HMI systems, and the most user-friendly HMI system.

Volvo’s Co-Pilot system was awarded the “most innovative HMI feature” in the Car HMI Awards for 2016. So, what exactly is Volvo’s new Co-Pilot system and why was given this prestigious award? Co-Pilot is an HMI system designed by Volvo’s own team of engineers. It is used on machines like excavators and pavers, featuring a tablet computer that introduces a whole new world of controls and customization options for the operator (see image to the right).

The Volvo Co-Pilot provides an “integrated, holistic solution” for worksite optimization by placing the operator at the core of the system. Volvo claims its award-winning HMI system is the equivalent of Tesla in the car industry, boasting state-of-the-art technology in a touchscreen interface and UX design that integrated seamlessly with smartphones and mobile telecommunications.

“We are pleased that Volvo CE has been recognised for its innovative capabilities,” said Sidney Levy, design director at Volvo CE. “Volvo Co-Pilot is the first step towards an integrated, holistic solution for worksite optimisation. Not only does it set a new industry standard but it also puts operators at the heart of the system. From start to finish, the UX-design focused content is specifically tailored to the needs of the user. The system offers the equivalent of Tesla in the car industry – state-of-the-art-technology that combines a touchscreen interface and perfected UX-design content that can be updated using mobile telecommunications technology.

Like many HMI systems, Volvo’s Co-Pilot serves two basic purposes: to improve operator safety, and to improve productivity/efficiency. I think it’s safe to say the Co-Pilot excels in both of these categories.

Of course, Volvo isn’t the only automaker tinkering with HMI systems. Many other automakers, both foreign and domestic, have also developed their own HMIs. And this isn’t a trend that’s likely to go away anytime soon. On the contrary, HMIs are becoming an integral component in the modern-day automobile.

What do you think of Volvo’s Co-Pilot system?