Volvo's Pioneering Use of Machine Learning


by Alex White

Senior Partner, Talent & Research 11th Jan 2017

Alex White is the founding partner at Avellio. He is an industry experienced former analyst, and has led over 120 retained search assignments for data science leaders, with mandates entrusted by leading global investment banks, major retailers and analytics consultancies.

How Volvo harnesses Big Data across the globe to deliver actionable insights.

For Volvo, analytics is a top priority for the company and is supported by major financial investment. These days, cars are becoming increasingly more intelligent and have a have a greater connection to people through data than ever before. Volvo Cars equipped its very first car with internet-enabled technology in the late nineties, with a rudimentary system of telemetry to estimate when components would require servicing, or fail. 

It could be claimed that Volvo cars have always been 'first to market' with revolutionary new concepts in safety. One recent advent in driver and passenger safety has been in the form of the 'Volvo Cloud' test project. This involves equipping cars with sensors set up to actively monitor hazardous driving conditions, and then to relay that data to the Volvo Cloud System, which in-turn shares that data with the highways agency in Sweden, enabling them to make use of the data to warn other road users. 

An additional key focus for Volvo, which is a part of their driver-centric development in car technology, is the improvement in passenger comfort and convenience, through active monitoring of functions and features to establish what customers are finding the most useful, and conversely, which functions are not being used. This active state of constant monitoring covers a broad number of features, from music streaming services such as Spotify, surveying car parking spaces through camera technology, to information on weather conditions.

 "The new XC40 has the computing power to do things the average laptop wouldn’t have been capable of a few years ago" - Andreas Ropel, innovation manager at Volvo Cars.  Image credit:  Volvo Cars .

"The new XC40 has the computing power to do things the average laptop wouldn’t have been capable of a few years ago" - Andreas Ropel, innovation manager at Volvo Cars.

Image credit: Volvo Cars.

One major disruption in the field of driving dynamics is the phasing in of autonomous vehicles, with Volvo creating the architecture for this technology firmly centred around road safety, for driver, passengers, pedestrians, and other road users alike. Currently, Volvo Cars are trialling 'driverless cars' on the streets of Gothenburg, with further trials currently underway in London and Shanghai.

Furthermore, Volvo Cars is actively predicting vehicle breakdowns and component failures. Volvo has partnered with Teradata to perform predictive, machine learning analytics data sets at petabyte-scale. In addition, Volvo EWS (Early Warning System) analyses over 50 million data events every year to correlate breakdown events and component failure rates.

Volvo have long been developing their own unique AI algorithms, with road safety at the forefront of all big data initiatives. It is a fine example of how committed the company is to enhancing the lives of their customers lives through the power of data and actionable insight. 

Avellio - trusted resourcing partners to over 400 of the world's leading brands! Our expertise and experience transcends both global financial trading and consumer retail. Find out more!

By Alex White
Alex White