New Technology Takes Volvo Penta into the 21st Century

At the recent marine trade show in Chicago (IMTEC), Volvo Penta unveiled a startling new initiative for owners of Volvo Penta sterndrives in the USA. Called the Platinum Performance System, it’s an on-board diagnostic system than can be patched through to your local Volvo service centre if you experience engine trouble.

Using a cell phone and the new system, technicians can actually diagnose problems and fix them without ever seeing the boat. Customers simply plug in the cell-phone provided and call Volvo’s Volvo Action Service line. The operator will ask for boat and engine type. Then ask the boater to press the voice/data button on their bulkhead panel to allow the Electronic Control Module (ECM) to transmit data to Volvo Action Service.

Once the problem has been diagnosed the technician can re-program engine to correct the problem or put the engine in a “limp home mode.” If the problem cannot be the coordinator can arrange for assistance. A brochure said “It’s like having a technician onboard.”

Volvo Penta in Europe are waiting to see how successful the Platinum Service is before making any plans to introduce it into Europe. But if it works as well as they hope, the implications could be huge. If it works for your boat engines, then car manufacturers will be looking closely at similar systems, and before you know it you’ll be able to get your boat/car/TV/washing machine fixed without ever having to go anywhere or have anyone come to you.