Volvo Cars fuels innovation with data, analytics, IoT

The future of the automobiles industry will be dependent on services. Volvo cars has been building services around its cars for some time now. It wants to leverage sensor data from its cars to make driving safer, and to improve the customer experience.

Photo Credit : Volvo Cars,

Jan Wassén, Director Driver Interaction & Entertainment, Volvo Car Corporation
Jan Wassén, Director Driver Interaction & Entertainment, Volvo Car Corporation

The Volvo Group has been making cars since 1924. Volvo cars are renowned for high safety standards, quality and luxury.  Volvo Car Corporation (Volvo Cars) was established as a separate entity in 1999. Today its focus is on human safety with a strategy of technology and services designed around the driver.

Around 80 to 90 percent of Volvo Cars are connected with customer permission. Volvo on Call, its connected car and telematics service, is highly successful. The company is trying to capture data from its connected vehicles to improve the customer experience. It is also creating new services.

Data, analytics and IoT play an important role in this innovation, in design, diagnostic, service, warranty, dealerships, marketing & sales, and also to educate the owners about the features in their vehicles.

Jan Wassén, Director Driver Interaction & Entertainment, Volvo Car Corporation heads the Analytics initiatives at the company. He said Volvo has been using data and sensors in their vehicles for a long time. One application is detecting driver drowsiness and alertness.

Futurists have said that only 20 per cent of the car will be an automobile in future. The rest of it will be a service. So it will be a technology with a car built around it. A current example is Tesla Motors.

Volvo’s strategy is to build a set of services designed around the driver or the customer. For instance, there could be a service that uses geo location data combined with sensor data from nearby connected cars. This could be used to warn drivers about hazardous road conditions. 

“The vehicle can detect if a road is slippery via its wheel sensors. It will then alert the driver and send the alert into the cloud. This alert is relayed to other vehicles that are entering that area, and to the transport authorities,” said Wassén. “This was launched in Sweden and Norway.”

Volvo is considering bespoke services for its customers. For instance, a service could detect features that aren’t being used, and then send customers instruction videos on how to use those features.

“One service that we are considering is electronic maps. The sensors around the car will pick up data from the road and create this map. This is a big task and is tedious to do. You need to know the conditions of the road, the traffic conditions, which are changing daily,” said Wassén.

Another feature that is available to Volvo customers who live only in Norway, Sweden or Switzerland is called Roam Delivery. Letters and parcels in customers’ mail are delivered directly to their cars. The same could be done for typical home deliveries (food, groceries, ecommerce etc). This service is enabled through telematics. The GPS coordinates of the car are sent to the company delivering the goods.

It is typical for Volvo customers to browse the Volvo website, choose their cars and how they want those customised. So all clicks and actions on the Volvo site are captured and correlated with connected car data, to understand customer journeys and customer sentiment analysis. Sensor data combined with diagnostic data and warranty claims are used for parts failure prediction. It can also be used for planning future car designs and new features. All this is powered by the Teradata Aster database and analytics solution.  
The writer was hosted in Nice, France by Teradata.


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