• Find your car in a crowded parking lot.
  • Check fuel level, door locks and maintenance status remotely.
  • Track mileage and fuel consumption with exported report.

With more drivers using smartphones both in and out of the car, automakers are increasingly offering apps that to give smartphone users remote access to their vehicles. Volvo recently updated its Volvo On Call app, adding new features that could be especially helpful to businesspeople that need to track mileage or fuel consumption.

Available from Google Play, the App Store and Microsoft Marketplace, the On Call app now includes a feature that lets users download and store detailed trip data. The electronic driving log saves data for up to 40 days and can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet. Fuel consumption and speed data are included, and the app will even show a map view of the route for a given trip.

Other new features allow drivers to send a destination directly to the vehicle's navigation system, check the outside temperature at the car's location and show whether the vehicle is in use.

In addition to the new functions, the On Call app can also be used to remotely lock and unlock the car, check the fuel level and maintenance requirements and locate the vehicle on a map, in case the car is parked in an unfamiliar place. In a crowded lot, the app can honk the vehicle's horn and flash its lights to make it easier to spot.

Volvo says it will continue to add features to its remote app, offering updates to give users the latest version. In fact, the automaker is sourcing ideas from its Volvo On Call Idea Hub, a Facebook page where users can recommend a new feature or vote for ones they'd like to see added to the On Call app.

Next month, Volvo will announce the most popular ideas from its crowdsourcing effort, so expect further functionality from the app when the next-generation version arrives.

What it means to you: Apps like On Call from Volvo give smartphone users remote access to their vehicle, making things like checking fuel levels and locks, finding a parked car and keeping a mileage log easier.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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